Saurav Mohapatra Presents:
Keith R.A. DeCandido is many things: novelist, editor, comicbook scribe… and that’s only scratching the surface. It’s in the capacity of comicbook scribe that CWR’s Saurav Mohapatra caught up with DeCandido, as he has been spearheading Boom Studios’ FARSCAPE comics line, co-plotting the books with FARSCAPE creator Rockne O’Bannon and handling the scripting chores.
SM: I'll start with the easiest one if you don't mind - Who is Keith R.A. DeCandido and how did he get to writing Farscape comics?
KRAD: I was born in a tiny fishing village in Cuba, where I was kidnapped and smuggled to New York City by a roving band of gypsy librarians, who trained me in their vile and bibliographic ways. A career in publishing was inevitable....
As for how I got into writing FARSCAPE comics, it started with my writing a FARSCAPE novel called HOUSE OF CARDS, which I did in 2001, and I followed it up with three short stories -- two for the official magazine, one for the official role-playing game. I lobbied pretty hard to do the novel, and both publishers (Tor Books in the U.S. and Boxtree in the UK) were happy with it, as was the Jim Henson Company -- as were the fans -- so that led not only to more work for a good resume to show off when the matter came up in 2008....
BOOM! Studios acquired the license to do FARSCAPE comics in the spring of 2008, and I immediately tracked down Matt Gagnon's e-mail and offered my services. Rockne -- who loved HOUSE OF CARDS, and with whom I'd stayed in touch over the years -- was thrilled to have me on board, as was Henson. The rest, as they say, is history.
SM: Were you a fan of the series? What in particular appealed to you in the Farscape mythos?
KRAD: Huge fan. I got hooked in the first season, during one of the four-episode marathons Sci-Fi used to do. I particularly liked the way the show took the standard genre clichés and turned them on their ear -- usually in a manner involving bodily fluids...
SM: We're seeing a growing trend of continuation of fan favorite TV series into comics. What are your feelings on this? Comics and Television are two different media each with their own idioms and limitations, anything in particular in the back of your mind as you went on to adapt/continue Farscape into a comic book?
KRAD: I think the trend has less to do with TV and comics in and of themselves, but rather the very dedicated following that some TV shows get, which isn't enough to sustain the show after a certain amount of time, but is more than enough to support a comic book. TV has a MUCH higher standard for success than comics. It's the difference between millions and thousands. You need the former to be a success on TV, but you only need the latter for comic books.
So for something like FARSCAPE -- or BUFFY, ANGEL, JERICHO -- where the mass audience wasn't there to keep it going on screen, but the hardcore base is still kicking and wanting new stuff, the comic book medium is a perfectly happy, uh, medium.
SM: You've been heavily involved in offshoot anthologies circuit for many genre properties. How big a change is writing a comic book from that?
KRAD: Well, the thought process in writing a comic book is completely different from prose. It's not only a different medium, it's a wholly different storytelling style. The story is broken down into discreet units: issues, pages, etc. Plus, you're not telling the story all by yourself, you're working in collaboration with an artist, who's doing as much to tell the story as you. In prose, you're more freeform, there are none of the same structural limitations (each comic book I write for BOOM! must be 22 pages, no more no less, but my novels all have vaguely defined word counts), plus you're flying solo.
SM: Rockne S. O'Bannon as a co-writer/plotter on the series. How cool was that?
KRAD: Excessively. Working with Rockne is more fun than should be legal. It also frightens me how much he and I are on the same wavelength. It should probably frighten him more.....
SM: Your favorite character from Farscape? (Aeryn Sun doesn't count.)
KRAD: Aery-- Damn.
Actually, in all honesty, it's Rygel, and this goes back to HOUSE OF CARDS. He's just so much fun to write, because he's by far the smartest person on Moya, and he knows it. He also gets most of the best lines.
SM: So what's next for you in the immediate future?
KRAD: Well, the FARSCAPE comics are keeping me busy. We've got the main monthly (done as four-issue miniseries) plotted by Rockne and scripted by me, and then we've got the side miniseries that I'm scripting solo. The first is D'ARGO'S LAMENT, and that'll be followed by another shortly thereafter.
I'm also working on other stuff, including a STARCRAFT novel for Pocket Books, a STARCRAFT manga for TokyoPop, and short stories for both a BATTLETECH 25th anniversary coffee-table book anthology and for MORE TALES OF ZORRO for Moonstone Books. Plus I'm hoping to do another SUPERNATURAL novel -- though that's up in the air (right now).
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