Contributor Interview: Lance Tooks

Detail from The Mortal Immortal, adapted by Lance Tooks.

Detail from The Mortal Immortal, adapted by Lance Tooks.

This week’s contributor interview is with the great Lance Tooks, who adapted The Mortal Immortal for The Graphic Canon:

What inspired you to adapt the piece you did for the Graphic Canon?

Russ told me that he was familiar with my work in Eureka’s Graphic Classics series (check out the latest volume, African-American Classics, which I also co-edited!). Mary Shelley’s The Mortal Immortal is a story that’s influenced everyone from Anne Rice to the creators of the Highlander film series, yet is nowhere nearly as famous as her classic Frankenstein. I actually began working on the adaptation before having a publisher in mind, and would still like to eventually expand it into a long-form graphic novel somewhere down the line . . . and Somerset Maugham’s Rain is a nasty little tale that’s been filmed several times, but seemed ripe for a revisit. I was anxious to create my first color story after thirty years as a freelance cartoonist and animator. (I learned a lot!) [Note: Lance’s adaptation of Rain will appear in volume 3!]

Detail from The Mortal Immortal, adapted by Lance Tooks.

Detail from The Mortal Immortal, adapted by Lance Tooks.

What other projects are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently creating a brief biography of Harlem Renaissance poet Claude McKay and a piece about jazz and dance for an upcoming comics anthology called The Bohemians, which is being published by Verso. At the same time I’m deep into an original 200 page full-length graphic novel entitled Thug Midwife (sincerest thanks to [Seven Stories Press editor] Veronica for the connection to Seven Stories’ Birth Matters, which is proving a valuable reference!), which tells the story of a young gang member who, upon his release from prison, decides it’s time to stop taking life out of this world and to start bringing it in . . . so he becomes a midwife!

I’m also shopping around an adaptation of Shelley contemporary Dr. John Polidori’s The Vampyre, the first vampire story, never before adapted in comics form, which is a shame because it’s a great story. Images from all of these works can be found at my web journal.

Be sure to visit Lance at the 2013 MoCCA Fest, April 6-7th at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City! He’ll be heading back to Spain afterward, so now’s your chance!

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