This press release is a little light on details, but we’re big on Spain Rodriguez here, and it appears he’s been hired to draw one of those “screenplay-to-comics” deals, which will be funded through Kickstarter. Like we said, it’s just a plan, but it’s nice to see Spain in the news.
Spain Rodriguez has signed to draw Joan Dark, a new graphic novel by three untried authors in the comics field. Rodriguez, one of America’s first underground comics artists of the ’60s and ’70s (and frequently identified only as ‘Spain’), has published a large body of work as both artist and writer. The writers of Joan Dark are Robert Hurst and Jeff Tamblyn, who wrote the story first as a screenplay, and Patrick Quinn, who penned the comic script.
“We’re incredibly lucky to have made the connection with Spain,” Tamblyn says. “As first-timers, this is beyond our wildest dreams. We expect to learn a lot from him during the course of the next year.” Tamblyn, a filmmaker, was acquainted with Spain’s wife, filmmaker Susan Stern (Barbie Nation, Self-Made Man) for more than three years before learning to whom she is married. “Even after I found out, I never expected to have the opportunity to work with him,” Tamblyn says.
Joan Dark is a modern-day retelling of Don Quixote that features a female leading character who is an emotionally-damaged Iraq War veteran. It’s described as a darkly comic, action-adventure tale, laden with political overtones – an arena that should work well for Rodriguez, whose left-wing sentiments have never been a secret.
The team intends to finance the artwork through kickstarter.com, a crowd-sourcing website for creative endeavors that’s become well-known to comics enthusiasts around the world.
Rodriguez created the first underground tabloid, Zodiac Mindwarp. His character Trashman, Agent of the Sixth International, was an icon in underground newspapers of the ’60s. Big Bitch, another popular Spain character, appears in She Comics. Spain’s work currently appears in the online graphic novel Dark Hotel, at sfgate.com, the LA Weekly and Blab. Spain also recently published Che: A Biography, which was translated into eleven languages.
Quinn, a writer and editor, wrote the 1995 novel Thick As Thieves, which was adapted as a motion picture starring Alec Baldwin. Tamblyn’s feature documentary, Kansas vs. Darwin, was released in 2008 through New Day Films. Hurst, who also teaches film at the University of Kansas, is a writer, director and technician who’s worked on various features over a 20-year career, including Sundance screener The Only Good Indian.
Another key character in the story is an Arab journalist, who plays the voice of reason to Joan’s deluded-but-driven knight. “We really love the character of the journalist, whose name is Fahreed Al-Hassan,” says Hurst. “He’s an Arab character who’s not a terrorist or a doctor or a convenience-store clerk, he’s very human, with many weaknesses and a very good heart.”
Publishing plans for the book have not yet been announced.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.