Salman rushing to comics?

200910291012ICv2 has a full report on an appearance by internationally acclaimed author Salman Rushdie (shown above with his ex, Padma Lakshmi) proclaiming his interest in writing a graphic novel on the Craig Ferguson Show.

Rushdie answered, “Yeah, and actually I got asked recently if I’d like to write a graphic novel. I was kind of keen on it. When I was a kid I was a real comic book nut. I could tell you a lot about superheroes.”

Rushdie then launched into a discussion of Aquaman and segued into Kryptonite, muffing the difference between Green and Red Kryptonite after bragging that he knew what they were. But he circled back to the graphic novel concept and wrapped up with, “So I’m quite attracted to the idea of a graphic novel. I might have a go.”

Okay we get it…comics are cool now! In theory we like the idea of a Rushdie-penned issue of Red Tornado–especially if it dealt with the inner life of Ma Hunkel–but many of these celebrity comics writers are turning in stuff that is generally inferior in construction to the average Ed Brubaker issue of CAPTAIN AMERICA. So study up, people! Pow! Smash! Writing comics isn’t just for kicks!

Comments

  1. Hey, if Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing can write a graphic novel,
    http://www.dorislessing.org/playing.html
    why not Salman Rushdie?

  2. I don’t know, I think guys like Salman Rushdie or Stephen King coming to comics is a much better thing than, say, Jennifer Love Hewitt or Nick Cage slapping her name on a comic. I mean, the guys are famous for their quality of their *writing* already, so having them take a stab at using those talents in a different medium strikes me as the potential for some really good comics.

  3. So, who was the first established author to cross over into comics?

    Did Ray Bradbury ever write original stories for EC?
    Did Julie Schwartz have any of his SF contacts write stories?
    Harlan Ellison wrote the Incredible Hulk and Avengers in 1971.
    (Mickey Spillane wrote comics before his first novel.)

  4. Tommy Raiko says:

    “So, who was the first established author to cross over into comics?”

    I’d bet it depends on what you mean by “established author.”

    I’m pretty sure William Moulton Marston had published some books–not just academic papers, but some books of what might now be called “pop psychology”–before he created Wonder Woman, for example. But that might not be the kind of example you’re looking for, if you mean to find the first comics creator who was previously best known as an author of “real” books.

  5. Alan Coil says:

    Rushdie confused the properties of red and green Kryptonite, claiming red would kill (Superman).

  6. Tommy Raiko says:

    “Rushdie confused the properties of red and green Kryptonite, claiming red would kill (Superman).”

    Yeah, he loses some real nerd cred for getting that wrong. He claimed that green K would depower and weaken Superman (true) but not kill him (not true) and that Red K would kill Superman (not true.)

    Unless there’s some sort of new, post-Countdown/52/Infinite/Final Crisis/Blackest Night framework to how color kryptonite works, that is…

  7. Synsidar says:

    Gardner Fox is noteworthy as someone who wrote both comics stories and prose, and did so prolifically (over 4,000 comics stories!?) . There’s also John Broome, who started out as a period SF writer, then switched to comics.

    Unfortunately, I can’t think of anything good to say about someone who’d take a dilettantish approach to writing graphic fiction. Either take the enterprise seriously, learn about the characters, the genre, and how to combine art and words to maximum effect, or stay out.

    I thought Orson Scott Card’s ULTIMATE IRON MAN material was good, but he didn’t produce a lot of publicity.

    SRS

  8. Comic fans declare jihad on on Rushdie for getting distinctions between Kryptonites wrong!

  9. pulphope says:

    There is a flip side to the growing popularity and influence of comics, worth pointing out, relating in a way to Rushdie (cribbing a bit from Spurgeon for the link, thanks TS):

    Two Chicago residents were recently arrested for plotting to murder employees of the Dutch paper which printed cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad:

    http://mobile.chicagotribune.com/inf/infomo;JSESSIONID=3A5BFF23124E622E7117.4111?view=nationworld_article&feed:a=chi_trib_5min&feed:c=nationworld&feed:i=50121753&nopaging=1

    As everyone knows, Salman Rushdie has been forced to live in quasi-hiding for decades for famously criticizing the Prophet Muhammad.

    I don’t think we’ve seen the end of this disturbing trend.

    And not to be cynical but I suspect Rushdie would likely write a turgid, prose-heavy snooze-fest appealing to no one except the book reviewers of the New York Times. But it’d be awesome if he was a Dashiell Hammet or even a Robert Kanigher in disguise.

  10. Joe S. Walker says:

    Re old-time SF writers who worked in comics, Alfred Bester, Edmond Hamilton and Otto Binder all wrote Superman stories.

    Salman Rushdie? He’d be terrible.

  11. pulphope says:

    I wonder if Cornell Woolrich wrote any comics. He wrote lots of old time radio and screenplays.

    Which comics did Bester write? He’s a great writer.

  12. Bester mostly wrote Green Lantern, though it looks like he wrote some Genius Jones and a little bit of Starman.

  13. wrees says:

    I think Patricia Highsmith started out writing comics, way back when. And I’m fairly certain some of the old 10,000-word-a-day pulp guys like David Goodis and Robert Leslie Bellem dabbled in funny books, although I can offer no evidence. It’s an interesting development seeing prose writers dive in. I think it’s a good thing. I enjoyed Lethem’s Omega the Unknown. So, a Rushdie/Panter team-up? I would read that.

  14. Tommy Raiko says:

    “As everyone knows, Salman Rushdie has been forced to live in quasi-hiding for decades for famously criticizing the Prophet Muhammad.”

    For what it’s worth, whatever the status of the fatwa against Rushdie technically is, it seems fair to say that it has eased about 10 years ago. There are old articles online describing the fatwah being “lifted” around 1998, but there are also articles where Iranian religious leaders describe the fatwa still being in place. In any case, it seems clear that Rushdie is leading a more public, little less hidden life in the past few years than he was in the immediate years after SATANIC VERSES was published.

    “And not to be cynical but I suspect Rushdie would likely write a turgid, prose-heavy snooze-fest appealing to no one except the book reviewers of the New York Times.”

    Ironically, in the Craig Ferguson clip that seems to have set all this off, Rushdie mentions how the New York Times hasn’t given a good review to one of his books in years.

    Anyway, I don’t know that I’d automatically think that any Rushdie GN would automatically be turgid and prose-heavy, but I might guess that were he to do an original GN, it might be a high-minded literary endeavor like, I dunno, Alan Moore’s Promethea or something we might associate with First Second or Fantagraphics.

    Of course, he might not do an original GN at all. Maybe he’ll be announced as the next writer of Aquaman or somethin’

  15. Well, I was thinking of either bestselling or lauded authors of prose working in comics after having become successful authors. So Harlan Ellison might be the first, since comics weren’t very reputable back then. (Mario Puzo gets a nod for the screenplay to Superman.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patricia_Highsmith#Comic_books
    Lots of comics! How difficult would it be to collect them?

    As for Rushdie, remember that he also wrote “Haroun and the Sea of Stories”.

  16. Ed Brubaker says:

    Dashiell Hammett wrote comics after he was one of the most famous authors of his day.

    Though also, “generally inferior in construction to the average Ed Brubaker issue of CAPTAIN AMERICA” sadly. But it had good art.

  17. Ed Brubaker says:

    And if anyone can’t see the sarcasm intended above, then they have spent too long on the internet.

  18. pulphope says:

    Oh man, you’re right– the Secret Agent X-9 comics. Almost forgot….

    It’d be tough to do a comics adaptation of the continental Op stories if you intended to keep him an anonymous person. No close ups or full frontals!

  19. Henrik Andreasen says:

    It is not Dutch Paul, but Danish as in Denmark. Common misconception, but never the less. It has been quite a big thing for the last couple of days in the news here in Denmark.

  20. The Beat says:

    Ed, I did mean that as a compliment! Seriously!

  21. wow what was that women doing with that grandpa? Daddy issues!

  22. wrees says:

    Mr. Brubaker,

    There’s a really good interview on you tube between Ian Fleming and Chandler. I recommend it if you haven’t checked it out already.

    What are your thoughts about those Chandler comic book adaptations? I thought the Playback graphic novel they adapted from his screenplay was somewhat stale. The story took place in a Canadian hotel for some reason. It was sort of a classic bedroom whodunnitt.

    I’lm not so crazy about the writing in Hammett’s Secret Agent X9. Maybe someone was ghost writing for him at that point? Raymond’s art was better on Rip Kirby too.

    William Rees

  23. Blackeye says:

    I can’t believe Rushdie was married to Padma. She sure isn’t in hiding. I would love to know the story of those two. She rocks on the television show “Top Chef.”

  24. Rafael K says:

    Critically acclaimed author marries exotic super model chef while on the run from a death threat… dude may not have geek creds but he’s the stuff of comic books.

  25. kevin greenlee says:

    Ring Lardner wrote a comics version of his famous “You Know Me, Al” in the early twenties.

  26. “It’d be tough to do a comics adaptation of the continental Op stories if you intended to keep him an anonymous person. No close ups or full frontals!”

    That depends on the approach. Shadowy alleys, hat brim casting shadows over the face, back to the reader. I suppose after a couple of graphic adaptations — or, even toward the end of the first one — you’d probably start showing his face.

  27. michael says:

    Cool! A Salman Rushdie Aquaman!!! :)

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