When the term "fantasy hero" is usually defined by an author, phrases like "will of iron," "agile swordsman" and "dashing prince" are easily thrown about. When Peter David defined his own fantasy hero in 2002, his own descriptors leaned more towards the range of "foul mouthed," "lame legged" and "bastard son of a prostitute." And the acclaimed results are about to come to comic books.
Today at Comic-Con International, IDW (publishers of David's "Fallen Angel" series) announced that next year they'll be releasing a five-issue mini series spinning out of the writer's "Sir Apropos of Nothing" trilogy of fantasy novels. Scripted by David and drawn by artist Robin Riggs, the series will craft a new tale of the fantasy anti-hero following on the heels of his eponymous debut, 2003's "The Woad To Wuin" and 2005's "Tong Lashing."
"[The series] arose from my Apropos agent, Andy Zack, approaching IDW with the prospect of carrying over Apropos into comic book form," David told CBR. "I'd had ideas for more Apropos stories, but nowhere to use them. Pocket Books paradoxically said they didn't want to do any more books, but meantime kept going back to press with the original novel (it's on its sixth printing) and so I couldn't move the character to another book publisher."
But don't expect David's newest Sir Apropos story to be culled from unused prose plots. The writer has plans for the IDW version of the character to fully take advantage of his comic book status and to take some good natured shots at David's own comic work. "The first issue features a send-up of 'The Dark Tower.' I made sure to have it approved personally by Stephen King; it seemed both the polite and smart thing to do. After that, what with this being IDW, I figured I'd send up such classic supernatural tropes as werewolves and vampires. Hence the title: 'Gypsies, Vamps and Thieves.'
"This series is one large Apropos story, although as is typical for him, it tends to be a bit episodic," David explains. "I decided to pick up in this instance after we left Apropos in 'Tong Lashing.' Some time has passed between the end of that novel and the beginning of the comic book series, and we see mention of some of the adventures that Apropos was involved with in the meantime."
Much in the same way that the novels that preceded the new comic series hid their skewering of the genre in accurate prose stylings for the fantasy genre, the art of the comic will deliver on the lavish illustration style expected from similar graphic tales. "Basically Robin has a real Prince Valiant style, which was exactly what I wanted to see in this book," said David. "Since Robin is penciling, inking and coloring the book, I think it's going to prove to be a genuine showcase for a huge talent who has been, I think, much overlooked."
For readers unfamiliar with previous Apropos adventures, the appeal of the errant knight and his ham-fisted, alcohol-fueled approach to battling evil should be as clear as his differences from the ethically clean leads found in the works of everyone from J.R.R. Tolkien to George R.R. Martin. At least that's how David sees it.
"I think it's precisely because he isn't that kind of hero that fans keep coming back. He holds the same fascination as a Black Adder or Harry Flashman. He's the rogue who punctures pretensions and does things that no one expects. Furthermore they love that opponents tend to underestimate him and, consequently, tend to wind up undone. It's always fun to see the underdog outwit the bullies. Plus he's a thoroughly unrepentant bastard, and I think people like that twisted purity."
How the writer has been able to keep diving into the rugged, ragged world of Sir Apropos time and again is a mystery even to David himself, as he describes his earliest connection with the character as somewhat out of his own control. "Apropos literally walked (or limped) into my head one day, fully formed. The visual of him was incredibly clear. Lame of leg with the walking staff, the defiant attitude, the bastard sword...it was all there. And for some reason I also envisioned him running (or hobbling) as quickly as he could, clutching the hand of a princess, while a herd of angry unicorns bore down upon them. Not sure where that idea came from either. But all of it combined to create a character that took up residence in my head and seemed disinclined to depart. So I started writing a few pages every day until, after several months, I had half a manuscript, and things just kind of went from there."
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