At Comic-Con International “The Thrilling Adventure Hour” creators Ben Acker and Ben Blacker boarded the CBR Yacht to discuss bringing their popular stage show to a new medium: comics. With a new graphic novel hitting stores this week from Archaia, Acker and Blacker spoke with CBR Editor-in-Chief Jonah Weiland about adapting a radio show for comics, the connection the show has to the creative community, whether there are more comics in the show’s future and more.
On “The Thrilling Adventure Hour” and the connection to comics: “We’ve both been reading comics for 25 years, at least,” said Blacker. “And yeah, it’s been really neat, this writer/artist community that has popped up around the show. We are flattered by all of our fans, but it’s amazing that people like Ed [Brubaker] and Matt Fraction like the show. Gail Simone –”
“Greg Rucka,” said Acker.
“Yeah, people who are comics writers that we have admired for years have gotten in touch with us to say how much they love the show. We were lucky enough to have Ed write one piece of the show last December, which was the first piece written by someone who wasn’t us. That was really fun.”
On the difference between writing for the comic and writing for the stage: “What was striking to us was how a comic book script is somewhere in between a radio show script, which is all dialogue, and a television script in which you have to prepare it for a director,” said Blacker. “A comic book script, you’re directing on the page and you’re collaborating so much more with the artist than you would be in a TV script with the actors and director.”
“We found the collaboration we have with the actors on the stage is similar to the collaboration we have with the artists,” said Acker. “We have the base, we know the form of it, and it’s up to the actor to make it theirs and interpret it for the audience.”
On the rewarding nature of the creative community embracing “The Thrilling Adventure Hour”: “I wouldn’t say that we assumed that we would get it,” said Acker. “We didn’t go in expecting –”
“We didn’t expect anyone but the 100 people who we invited to the first couple of shows to continue coming to these shows,” said Blacker. “We’ve said this before, but Ben and I started out writing the show that we wanted to see. They’re genre pieces — it’s a space western, it’s a Nick and Nora Charles of the supernatural, it’s superhero stuff. It’s stuff that we respond to and the fact that it’s been embraced by not just a mass audience, but also by the creative community, it’s unbelievable rewarding.”
On the comic adaptation of “The Thrilling Adventure Hour”: “We want to do more,” said Acker. “It’s as addictive as writing the stage show. It is fun to break story in a new way.”
“It’s sort of a parallel muscle, too,” said Blacker. “It’s very similar to doing the stage show where we get to tell this ongoing story, but it’s not TV where there are millions of dollars involved and everyone has to have a say.”
“It’s really immediate,” said Acker. “It’s fun because there are visuals we’ve had in our heads that we can only imply that we’re finally getting to see. The comic book opens with an anti-gravity cliffhanger that’s been in our heads for over 10 years.”
“We’d love to do more, we’d love to do a monthly of this stuff, we’d love to do another big anthology with Archaia. We’ll see,” said Blacker.