It has been 50 years since the theatrical release of The Beatles’ animated musical odyssey Yellow Submarine. Set in the underwater haven of Pepperland, the movie features cartoon counterparts of the Fab Four traveling through the sea in the titular vessel to defeat the music-hating Blue Meanies. The iconic film and the band’s timeless tracks still endure to this day, and to celebrate it, Titan Comics has released a limited edition box set featuring Bill Morrison’s graphic novel adaptation of the same name along with a bundle of other collectibles. We chatted with Morrison about the project and what fans can expect.
Deanna Destito: This project was actually started 20 years ago but never made it to print. What changed in the last two decades that finally launched the project?
Bill Morrison: I’m not sure, but it could be that comics and graphic novels have more respect these days and are proving to be profitable.
Destito: Were you able to use the pages that were already completed or did they need tweaking after so much time had passed?
Morrison: I used the existing pages, but there was a point where I considered redrawing those scenes. Ultimately I felt that they were good and there wasn’t really a great reason to redo them. And no, I didn’t tweak them at all. If anything, I think some of those pages are better than the newer ones.
Destito: Was this a dream project?
Morrison: I’ve been a huge Beatles fan since I was a little kid. The first record album I ever owned was “Alvin and the Chipmunks Sing The Beatles Hits,” and I remember seeing them on the Ed Sullivan Show when they first came to the US. I even saw A Hard Day’s Night at a drive-in theater when it came out. It was a total dream project and it’s a huge thrill to be a part of Beatles history.
Destito: What was it like adapting your art style to Heinz Edelmann’s style so famously demonstrated in the film?
Morrison: I have a long history of aping other styles, from Disney and Warner Brothers characters, to Matt Groening’s The Simpsons and Futurama, so it wasn’t very hard. I spent a lot of time gathering reference, taking screen grabs, etc., so once I had really good reference to draw from it was not very difficult.
Destito: What has been the overall reception for the book, especially from diehard Beatles fans?
Morrison: Happily, I have heard and read nothing but good things! I know some hardcore Beatles fans, and they have all been extremely complimentary. It’s been reviewed several times as well, and everyone seems to love it.
Destito: The limited edition box set is a great gift for music and comics fans. Are there any plans for additional gift sets or editions?
Morrison: I think Titan has some more things in the works, but I’ll leave it to them to reveal the details.
Destito: Are there any other properties you’d love to see revamped and brought to life?
Morrison: How about “Mad Monster Party”? Those character designs by Jack Davis
are so appealing. I’d love to see a new graphic novel version and more toys and other merchandise!
The Beatles Yellow Submarine graphic novel and limited edition box set are available on Titan Comics’ website. The box set includes a hardcover edition of the book along with a 6.5” Yellow Submarine, 5 Yellow Submarine badges, an exclusive art card signed by Morrison, and other goodies perfect for fans of The Beatles.