As faithful SPBMers are probably aware we feel Improper Books is one of the most exciting new publishers of British comics; their debut title Porcelain is a triumph worthy of a veteran publisher and their upcoming books Butterfly Gate and Night Post are high on our Keenly Anticipated list. So any announcement from them regarding new projects is going to prick our ears up good and proper. And then we find out it has art by Bevis "Muscles" Musson, creator of Dead Queen Detectives - which we totally flipping adore - and we're squealing "But I want it NOOOOW!" like a comicophile Veruca Salt. So slap your ocular receptors all over the following press release and join us in our overexcited ragegasm....
KNIGHT & DRAGON
Written by Matt Gibbs and illustrated by Bevis Musson, with colours by Nathan Ashworth, KNIGHT & DRAGON playfully subverts the story of a heroic Knight defeating a ferocious Dragon to rescue the fair Maiden, by offering variant paths and multiple outcomes to the classic fairy tale adventure.
Each narrative begins the same, with a beleaguered Knight riding his Horse into a seemingly deserted village, where the majority of the Villagers mistake him for a heroic warrior. Distracted by the beauty of the Maiden, before he really knows what he’s doing, the Knight agrees to fight a Dragon and, much to the Maiden’s evident dismay, the Village Chief offers the Knight her hand in marriage should he succeed. Learning too late from the Villagers that the Dragon is both huge and ferocious, the despondent Knight heads out to meet his fate, and at this point the stories begin to diverge…
From here, the Knight, Dragon and Maiden, along with the Horse, Farmhand and Village Chief, provide different paths through the unfolding narratives before reaching different endings.
‘It began as an idea to create a comic that allowed changes in the sequence and resolution of its scenes, enabling different stories to be told,’ said Matt, about Knight & Dragon. ‘This lends itself seamlessly to digital comics, but in a similar fashion to gamebooks, a print version is just as possible with a bit of additional heavy lifting, or page turning, on the part of the reader.’
‘It has also allowed Bevis and I to explore our mutual love of fairy tales, and I’m delighted that the branching script didn’t put him off. I’m a big fan of his work, especially the excellent Dead Queen Detectives, and it has been brilliant seeing each page come to life in his style, which is being perfectly complimented by Nathan’s colours.’
‘It's always a pleasure to take things you love and approach them in a new way, so with Knight & Dragon I get to combine my love of fairy tales and comics and do something that is both familiar and surprising,’ said Bevis, about the project. ‘How could I not jump at the chance to draw a story with romance, drama, action, adventure and a whacking great dragon? In the end I even enjoyed drawing the horse, once I worked out he could wear a tablecloth.’
Designed with both print and digital in mind, Knight & Dragon is a picture book comic for all ages, due out in 2013.
Improper Books is a comic and graphic novel imprint focusing on creator owned stories that have a touch of the fairy tale, the Gothic or the macabre.
Matt "Funky" Gibbs is a freelance writer and editor. He has worked on games such as Sega’s BINARY DOMAIN and Ubisoft’s DRIVER SAN FRANCISCO, and is collaborating with a number of talented artists on comic and graphic novel projects. Alongside his freelance editing, he is the managing editor of Improper Books. Originally an archaeologist, he spent several years grubbing about in holes before turning to writing as a career.
Bevis "Not Beavis" Musson is the writer, artist and letterer of THE DEAD QUEEN DETECTIVES. He would probably make the paper too if he knew how, but that would just be showing off. He lives in Manchester with his family and generally thinks making comics is a much better way of spending his time than anything else.
Nathan "No Nickname" Ashworth is predominantly a colourist, working in a range of groups from DEAD ROOTS and VS COMICS to AFTERLIFE INC. and Art Heroes’ HALCYON & TENDERFOOT series. Nathan likes tasty bright colours, punching mates and being fed more inks to play about with.