True Blood Comic Book is a Big Hit at New York Comic Con!

October 13, 2010 by  

True Blood Comic is a Top Selling Comic Book at New York Comic Con

Comic Book CoverFans of HBO‘s True Blood know what a fantastic show it is, but it appears the comic book adaptation is a huge hit with comic book fans as well. New York Comic Con was held October 8th to 10th and fans were buying up a variety of comic books. Some of the most popular ones this year were Spawn, The Outfit, The Walking Dead and of course True Blood.

Have you ever been curious about what Eric, Sookie, Bill, Pam, et al do when we aren’t watching them on screen? Well HBO has authorized a comic book series released by IDW which keeps you up to date on the “secret parts of your favorite character’s lives”. The authors of the comics, Mariah Huehner and David Tischman sat down with Techland.com to talk about the show that inspires the comics, working with Alan Ball and their favorite storylines.

The Writing Process

Writing a comic book that is based on and closely linked to a television show can be tricky. Huehner and Tischman watch the show regularly since their license is based on the “show’s universe”. They say that there is a fine line to be walked between the show, the books and creating their own stories but they love that fans can enjoy all three entertainment vehicles. Huehner and Tischman use the comic books to tell stories that the books and the show do not or can not cover. The comics tie into the show but are used to show things like character back story so that the entire experience is expanded. Huehner says:

“The first one and each subsequent story is going to be like that too – not back-story, but other stories they aren’t able to do on the show so they can, there’s more world expansion and stuff with the comics.”

In the first comic all of the characters are being held hostage in Merlotte’s bar and they are each forced to reveal their most shameful secrets. Huehner and Tischman are hoping that fans of the show and the books will be able to use these comics to add another dimension to their enjoyment of the show.

Another exciting aspect with the comic book is the ability to push the envelope even further than HBO does with the violence and sex. The authors admit to having fun with that freedom while also keeping it appropriate which was no doubt a tricky thing to do.

Working With Alan Ball

Huehner and Tischman revealed that they worked very closely with Alan Ball and some of his head writers when developing the storylines for the comic books. Even though the show has been on for three seasons and to the delight of fans has been renewed for a fourth season, the actual timeline of the story is set to be days apart instead of months and years. Huehner and Tischman used this plot point to fit their stories in between the events on the shows. They revealed that while Alan was helpful and worked with them to make sure the storylines were a success, there was the odd time he had to pull them back. For instance the revelations that came out in the final episode of season 3 where we discovered that the Queen sent Bill to gain information about Sookie. Huehner and Tischman had touched on this subject in earlier comics and Alan helped them work around it.

When asked if Alan was going to reference the comic books on the show Huehner and Tischman said they were not sure but they were hopeful he would. They sang Alan’s praises saying he was so gracious and that he enjoyed working on the comic with them.

Favorite Storylines

Between the television show, the books and the comics, choosing a favorite storyline is not easy. While all three follow the same general storyline about Sookie Stackhouse, the show and comics do differ in a lot of ways. Techland.com asked the comic book writers what their favorite character storyline that they have written is. Both authors revealed that they really like what is happening with Lafayette’s character and they have enjoyed writing and experiencing that. Huehner says:

“His mom is in the story, and it also deals with his homosexuality. To me, without giving away the whole story, that was really important to me because it was something that we got to do in the comics because it’s something that is so important to the show of being able to deal with different sexualities with the vampires, and I didn’t want the comic to lose that quality. I wanted to make sure those were things that stayed true. If you’re going to do a Lafayette story, you need to have that acknowledged somewhere.”

Tischman says that he enjoys focusing on the “emotionally core moments of the characters” and that the comics are providing the fans with extra information about the characters and what makes them tick. He says that this was particularly the case with Bill’s story and his struggle with his humanity. They also discussed Sookie’s story saying:

“The first time I got to see it with the art – there was the main art style and then the one for each story. The Sookie one, it’s such a beautific, soft palate kind of story from her perspective as a little child and your emotions are heightened and she’s dealing with her abilities. It’s hard to write for a child. You don’t want to sound too grown up, but you don’t want to sound too immature because you want to get to where you need to go, and you get to see Gran in that story, which is nice to see her back because obviously that character got horribly murdered.”

Converting Television Fans into Comic Book Fans

If you wanted to generalize you could say that “typically” most people that watch True Blood are not going to read comic books. However, Huehner and Tischman wrote the books with fans of the show and comic fans in mind. They wanted to be sure that people who did not watch the show could still enjoy the comics on their own so characters and storylines were introduced slowly at first. But for fans of the show, the characters in the book still have the same “voice” as the ones on the show. So much so that people have said that they can “hear” the actors in their heads while they are reading.

To read the full interview with Huehner and Tischman click here.

You can purchase the True Blood comic books and other True Blood merchandise at the HBO Store. Click here to check them out.

Sources:  io9.com – True Blood, Spawn, and Darwyn Cooke’s Outfit are NYCC’s bestselling comic books

techland.com – True Blood Takes a Bite Out of Comics

(Photo Credit: HBO.com)

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  • lizzie1701

    I have yet to get a copy of these comics. They sound good, though.