Julien Blondel and Robin Recht's first sumptuous comic adaptation of legendary fantasy author Michael Moorcock's Elric saga is in comic stores now, and no one's a bigger fan than Moorcock himself. In fact, the author told io9 that he thinks it's superior to his original stories!
We spoke to Moorcock about what makes Elric: The Ruby Throne Vol. 1 (published by Titan) such an improvement, as well as what the past and future holds for the sickly albino lord of Melniboné and his cursed sword Stormbringer.
io9: What makes this your favorite comic adaptation of Elric?
Michael Moorcock: It has all the romance and decadence of the old Gothics brought into modern times just as I brought the angst and self-questioning of the revolutionary 1960s to the character, without losing what I hope is a sense of myth. I have loved a lot of Elrics and particularly enjoyed working with Walter Simonson on two successful Elric projects (as well as Hawkmoon). But this takes Elric in many ways back to his roots in European folklore and fiction.
How closely did you work with the comic team on the adaptation? Did they send you designs for approval or anything like that? Did you have more involvement in the script or the art, if either?
Moorcock: I've never involved myself very closely with adaptations of my work – once the team has been assembled. I prefer to pick the people and then let them get on with the job. Why cramp their style ? These guys know what they're doing. And in this case they had the guidance of Benoit Cousin, a brilliant editor whom the team refers to as the 'fifth contributor'. He put an enormous amount of work into this project.
We've read the graphic novel makes some adaptations from your original story, and that you not only approved of them, but you wish some of the ideas were yours. Is this true?
Moorcock: Absolutely! It's the story I would have written now.
Can you discuss some of these changes in specific?
Moorcock: The story opens with the birth of Elric. His relationship with Cymoril, his bride to be, is more complex.
Which character designs are most like the ones you envisioned in your head while writing the novels?
Moorcock: Elric, of course. Then Cymoril and his cousins Yyrkoon and Dyvim Tvar, the Dragon Master. Doctor Jest, the torturer, is a huge improvement over my original character!
What was your reaction upon seeing he first finished pages of the comic adaptation?
Moorcock: I think WOW would be appropriate...
There are three graphic novels by the team, which I assume make up the entirety of the first novel, Elric of Melniboné. Is this correct?
Moorcock: I understood there were four albums planned, approximating the original book.
So will the line continue past this? Will The Fortress of the Pearl presumably next?
Moorcock: The intensity of the team's involvement means that some of the members will come and go. IF there's no meltdown and the series continues to be successful (as it has been in France and other countries) I'm sure versions of the books will continue. But I wouldn't want the series to continue without the same artistic commitment. Future volumes must show the dedication to quality of the earliest ones.
So what novel, scene and/or character are you must looking forward to seeing the new team draw?
Moorcock: Smiorgan Baldhead and further manifestations of Arioch, Lord of Chaos!
Which novel, scene and/or character do you think they'll have the hardest time conceptualizing, and why?
Moorcock: To be honest, I trust these guys so much I believe them capable of anything but I was concerned how they would depict Grome, the Lord of the Earth Elementals and the Ship That Sails Over Land and Sea. Having seen the second volume, I need't have worried.
Might these graphic novels possibly inspire you to write another Elric tale, either in prose or as a comic?
Moorcock: Indeed it might. I'm already considering some ideas! And, of course, there's now the chance of a TV series to think about! Extraordinary how this character has continued to develop through comics, games and other media for over fifty years! Originally, I only set out to write one short story...