Blind Ferret Entertainment is best known for their web publication "Gutters" which takes unhindered, satirical and often humorous jabs at the comic book industry, but now they're blazing new ground via their first licensed deal, adapting author Joe Abercrombie's "The First Law" trilogy of fantasy/adventure novels into comics.
The first novel in the series is "The Blade Itself," and Blind Ferret is utilizing a unique release strategy in both print and digital formats: three new pages a week can be read for free on FirstLawComic.com, completed issues will be available digitally via comiXology followed by printed collected editions of the series.
Handling the writing duties on the comic is veteran Chuck Dixon, who is currently adapting "Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World" for Dynamite Entertainment and continuing his legacy with "G.I. Joe: Special Missions" at IDW Publishing. Artist Andie Tong and colorist Pete Pantazis join Dixon on the project, bringing to life Abercrombie's dynamic characters and bloody combat sequences.
Dixon and Abercrombie spoke with CBR News about "The First Law: The Blade Itself," revealing details on the leading characters and the main villain, Abercrombie's mission in breaking the norms of the fantasy genre and Dixon's knack for writing adaptations. Plus, exclusive art!
CBR News: Chuck, what makes Logen Ninefingers, Glokta and Jezal dan Luthar -- the three main players of "First Law: The Blade Itself" -- strong individual characters?
Chuck Dixon: Logen is the classic tough guy with a past -- he's done things he's not proud of and made the world a worse place for it. He wants to become a better man and make up for some of what he's done. He's turned to wandering until he can figure that out, leaving the violence in his life as far behind as he can. But just when he thinks he's out, it pulls him back in...
Jezal is full of confidence and arrogance -- he's good, skilled, but what he wants is to be lazy. That arrogance of his sometimes gets in the way of his desire to kick back and do nothing, however. There's a scene in the book where he almost talks himself into a fight he knows he has no chance of winning. He doesn't even know why he's saying what he's saying.
Glokta just doesn't give a damn anymore. He's gone through so much in life, he pretty much isn't afraid of or really shocked by anything anymore. He can come to everything -- from political intrigue to torture -- with kind of wry amusement. He's got everyone figured, and he's irritable.
And what can you tell us about the book's leading ladies?
Dixon: Ferro Maljinn is an ex-slave bent on revenge (and Logen's love interest) but doesn't show up until later in the series. Collem West has a sister named Ardee (who's the love interest for Jezal), who shows up early, but has a more significant role as the story progresses.
What's the tone of "First Law" and who is the target audience?
Dixon: It's closer to adult in tone, but we're softening some of the edges for the adaptation. It's got a grounded mix of swords and sorcery, with some wicked humor to spackle it all together.
It's very violent and refreshingly free of even a hint of the fey or twee. That's all I need to know about it.
What can you reveal about the kingdoms and magical elements in the world of "First Law?"
Dixon: There's the Union -- a kingdom in the western European style composed of Angland, The Midderlands and Dagoska. To the north, there's a kingdom of barbarians, united under a ruthless king, that wants to take Angland. To the south is the Gurkhish Empire, who have a habit of attacking Dagoska. The Midderlands, seat of power for the Union, just wants any problems with the other countries to go away quietly.
As for magic, we've got your wizards and witches all right.
Who is the main villain our heroes will be crossing swords with?
Dixon: The main villain is Bethod, the power-hungry Northern king who wants to take Angland from the Union. Bethod used Logen to help get control of the North, and then there was a falling out. Now, whatever side Bethod is on, Logen's on the other. And since Bethod is making a play for Angland, Logen will stand against him. Bethod also makes the mistake of getting on the wrong side of Bayaz, the first of the Magi -- one of those wizards we were talking about.
Bethod is a tough old barbarian, but he's smart. He took over the North and brought peace; peace isn't what they want -- so he'll bring them war with an enemy they can agree on: the Union. If they win, his people are happy for a little bit longer, and he has more control over them. If they lose, any opposition is cut down and he can work on rallying them -- and he keeps control. It's almost win-win for him in this; like he's using the heroes as a resource to stay in power.