A Man Named Wolf

While writing A Man Lies Dreaming I’ve been thinking sort of visually about it – which might come from my work with weird graphic projects and comics in recent years (stuff like the as-yet-unpublished It’s Hard to be a Filipino in HebrewGoing to the Moon and the forthcoming Adler mini-series from Titan).

One of the things I wanted for AMLD were some posters from the alternate-history version of the story. One of them is Re-Elect Mosley. The other I hope to post soon (and we’ll have some physical copies too to giveaway!). Both were done by Sarah Anne Langdon.

The second thing I wanted to do was have a comic tie-in to the novel. I hoped to work with artist Neil Struthers, who I collaborated with on a weird little 32pp graphic novella called Adolf Hitler’s “I Dream of Ants!”, serialised in Murky Depths magazine and collected into one volume in 2012.

Adolf Hitler's "I Dream of Ants!"

After finishing the book, I ended up writing an original 11pp comic script, called “Postcards”, for that purpose. It looked a bit like this:

PAGE 9 / PANEL 2: A young girl – GELI RAUBAL, Hitler’s niece, 17 – alone in a bedroom. On the wall a Nazi flag, on the dresser by the bed a framed picture of Hitler (with ‘stache) and Geli with arms around each other, smiling. The second drawer is open. Geli’s hand is coming back from the drawer with a gun – a Smith & Wesson .22.

Neil, however, had to withdraw from the project, and so I was left resigned to not having anything done, until…

Until it occurred to me, very cheekily, that some of the art in I Dream of Ants fitted my purposes very well. Alongside the ants and the madcap 1950s pulp sci fi tropes there was a strain of Hitler Noir running through the comic. It’s why I wanted to work with Neil on the project to begin with. And so, having failed to talk myself out of it, I got in touch with Terry Martin (who published the original Ants) and he sent me the clean files (that is, without the lettering).

And what I did then was, I literally opened them up in Photoshop and started to crop individual frames. Like this:

brush teeth

And like this and like this:

Aha car ring

And then I started putting them into sequences, and writing a script (which is based on the first chapter of the novel), so what I got eventually was something like this:

A Man Named Wolf - Page 1

And I wrote a script that looks something like this:

Page 2

Panel 1:

Woman: You are Herr Wolf, the detective?

Wolf: Depends who’s asking.

Woman: My name is Isabella Rubinstein.

Caption: She had the face of an intelligent Jewess.

And I sent everything to Terry Martin, and he made it look something like this:

A Man Named Wolf - Page 2

And then I talked to my publishers at Hodder and they did a PDF you can download, and also they made these:

A Man Lies Dreaming

And so now there’s a limited number of print copies alongside the digital copy, and Hodder currently have a giveaway on Twitter. And I have some too!

Wolf

And that’s how that happened!

Which is a very unusual and rather strange way of making a comic but, hey, I enjoyed it. My grateful thanks to Neil Struthers and Terry Martin for allowing me to use and remix the material, and doing all the hard work so I didn’t have to – and to the brilliant Fleur at Hodder who worked behind the scenes to make this ridiculous idea a reality.

You can read the comics online right here.