If you are a fan of DUNE and disappointed about having to wait until 2021 for Denis Villeneuve’s blockbuster film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel, fear not, a hit of spice and sandworm action is still available in the Abrams Books’ new graphic-novel interpretation of the iconic source material.
SYFY WIRE acquired a slew of early concept art drawn by the comic’s illustrative team of Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín, who began working on the project when Spain went into lockdown during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We could start penciling in backgrounds and shooting references for the characters using the developed layouts as a guide. Using photo references is an additional step, but one that allows me to get more nuances and subtleties in the gestures and poses. It also makes the process a lot more fun. With that additional support, I pencil the characters. I also built some of the backgrounds in 3D since they were the settings of longer scenes, and that allows me to get consistency and also look for more interesting camera angles, kind of like in pre-visualization in movies,” said Allén.
Martín added that their Dune aesthetic was “a continuation of our comic work on titles like Wonder Woman or Secret Weapons with Eric Heisserer. It is heavily influenced by American comics but also a lot of European comics, with clean lines and less use of heavy blacks.”
Herbert and Anderson also said in the SYFY WIRE interview with Brian saying about his father and despite being the son of the legendary Frank Herbert, who tries to eschew the title of “Dune scholar” many to bestow upon him:
“It’s nice of you to put it that way. The sheer volume of details in the Dune series, and the exacting nature of hardcore Dune fans, made it necessary for me to really do my homework before committing any new words of fiction to paper. Before writing Dune: House Atreides with Kevin, I spent five years researching the writings and lifetime events of my father.”
Kevin J. Anderson added:
“Frank Herbert himself was the most intimidating challenge, just reading the original Dune novel (and all of Frank’s other novels), gives only a glimpse of how many things he had in his head. Brian and I have both studied the originals many times and still find new details and subtle nuances in the many layers. We talk constantly and compare notes, doublecheck each other, and make sure our own details fit.”
Back on the art side of the project, Martín and Allén continued, with Martín about the most fun and challenging aspects of the project:
“For me, the easiest was the flowers in the conservatory, I love plants and drawing them, so this quickly became one of my favorite scenes.”
Allén said that he had a lot of fun drawing Lady Jessica and Dyke Leto, but besides that, I would put everything in the most challenging category.
Allén also said in the interview that when the first trailer for Villeneuve’s movie was released in September, he purposefully avoided it too, “not to be influenced by its style.” However, he admitted that the treatment of the title blew him away.
Martín, on the other hand, did check out the first batch of footage:
“I was amazed by the visual re-imagining of Villeneuve’s film. I almost cried when I first saw the trailer. I love everything Villeneuve does, and his adaptation will be no exception.”
Brian went on to promise that, “the new graphic novel, with its fantastic illustrations, are like a still-life version of a movie, one visual frame after another. Fans will love to read our graphic novel version, then see the movie, and compare the two different approaches.”
“I have often told casual fans that reading the novel Dune is the best starting point, but that there are numerous other starting points in the Dune universe for anyone not familiar with, or only casually familiar with, the Dune series novels or previous movie and television film projects. I’ve told new fans that they could first watch those films, or first read our prequel and sequel novels, or — preferably — they could read [the original novel]. Now there is a new starting point, our definitive graphic novel version of Dune, bringing the classic scenes to life in illustrated form.”
“This visual interpretation was done independent of the film, so it’s entirely what we and the artists developed for our own cinematic vision. Again, this graphic novel is adapted from the original novel and not the movie script. So, readers will see the movie on the page.”
Dune: The Graphic Novel Vol 1. goes on sale next Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, with Book 2: Muad’Dib arriving in Spring 2022.
NEWS WATCH: The Graphic Novel Adaption of DUNE is Coming from Abrams Books
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