With The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hitting theaters Friday, fan interest is high — and some of those fans happen to be comic creators. Artist Daniel Govar and writer (and former comics executive) Ron Perazza are releasing today a unique one-off comic project on Comic Book Think Take celebrating an overlooked facet of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth stories: the walking songs of Bilbo Baggins.
The Road Goes Ever On is described by Perazza as “a lyrical presentation of the Shire” based on Baggins’ walking songs featured in the Middle-earth stories. In those original novels, the songs were featured in bits and pieces that are now collectively referred to as “The Old Walking Song.” Govar and Perazza have threaded those verses into one continuous piece that they’ve overlaid on a panoramic view of the Shire illustrated by Govar.
“The story, such as it is, takes you through our combined Walking Song as the reader pans through the Shire experiencing the change of seasons,” Perazza explained. “It ends exactly where it begins creating a seamless visual loop. The whole thing is much more of an experiential piece taking advantage of digital storytelling techniques than an event driven narrative.”
Govar is no carpet-bagger to the Lord of the Rings world; he’s the founder of one of the premier Tolkien fan sites, ThereAndBackAgain.net, which is part of The One Ring community. Govar’s done various LOTR illustrations over the years, but when he and Perazza started Comic Book Think Tank, The Road Goes Ever On wasn’t initially part of their plans — but they found it along the way.
“When Ron and I began mulling over other storytelling concepts and in particular one that was something of a departure from what we did with Relaunch, an infinite canvas made a lot of sense, and when we started talking about adapting a poem – well Tolkien just seemed like a perfect fit,” Govar told Robot 6. “With The Road Goes Ever On, developing the story and flow was a bit like putting together a puzzle. The idea of the seasons changing throughout the narrative was one piece then, having the time of day cycle was another … it just kept evolving, and adding to the story.”
Chuck Dixon and David Wenzel did an excellent (and official) adaptation of The Hobbit as a two-part graphic novel years ago, and Perazza and Govar are upfront that this project is just for fun. “I should point out that this is a completely unofficial work not licensed or part of an official The Hobbit promotion,” Perazza underscored. “We’re just fans!”