This week we welcome again, Danny Coleman as our guest blogger. Last week, Danny took us inside a NaNoWriMo write-in. This week, he shares with us a recent interview with Peter Dabbene, book reviewer, writer and graphic novelist to talk about his graphic novel, Ark.
Take it away, Danny and Peter!
“Most people’s experience with comic books is that it’s meant for kids; kids get older and still like comic books,” says author, graphic novelist and Hamilton resident Peter Dabbene. “The comic book companies realized that it’s still ok to read comics as an adult, so they began publishing graphic novels.”
By definition, a graphic novel is “a novel in the form of comic strips,” and Dabbene, a Staten Island native, recently published his first; a space age suspense thriller entitled “Ark.”
Set years into the future and based on a premise that there are other planets which are inhabitable in the vast
The novel has several plot twists and turns and is rife with foreshadowing, which only serves to heighten the suspense and drama that Dabbene masterfully intertwines within its pages.
Recently I caught up with Peter for an informative Q & A about himself, graphic novels and the comic industry. An extremely pleasant conversationalist, as well as informative and funny, he easily opened up to me and was more than willing to talk about his passion.
Danny Coleman: Have you always been or was there another vocation for you prior to becoming a graphic novelist?
Peter Dabbene: “I am actually a book reviewer. I’ve always liked to write, in the past I’ve written poetry, plays, and short stories; the beauty of it is, there are things that you can do with one but not the others. Being a reviewer, I get to make money off of something that I like to do; it’s great because I’ve really found some hidden gems in some of my work that I never would’ve known of.”
DC: How did you gain interest in writing a graphic novel?
PD: “I grew up in Staten Island and moved to Hamilton about fifteen years ago. As a kid I had an interest in and started reading comic books. I was about five when the original “Star Wars” came out, Marvel Comics put out more on that series and I kept reading, then I branched out into Superheroes. As I got older my tastes changed and I advanced to the graphic novel type.”
DC: Tell us about the concept behind “Ark?”
PD: “I don’t know really. I wanted to do something Science Fiction and this story developed over time; I take a lot of notes. I like tension, drama, people trapped in one place and the interpersonal tensions that develop. “Ark” has a few moments of humor but it’s also a fast paced thriller.”
DC: You mentioned that it developed “over time,” how long did it take from the original concept to completion and what is the average time length that it takes for a project such as this?
PD: “You know, I couldn’t tell you an average time. It took me about a year; well it’s been in the works for about four years, I took my time over the last year working up the script. So yeah, it took about four years once everything was in place.”
DC: You had to choose an illustrator/artist; can you talk about that process?
PD: “I looked for quite a while. I went the standard route, put up ads at comic shows, asked around and the like, I finally found him on line. He actually lives in the UK and his name is Ryan Bayliss. I have yet to meet him face to face but I did hear his voice for the first time when we did a podcast for a Scottish web site. We’ve worked together for a while now and we know each other, trust each other and have built a good relationship; we just let each other go with it creatively.”
DC: What can you tell me about the characters in the novel?
PD: “That’s a good question. The ensemble was created so that you don’t know who the main character is. The main character tends to stay on for the whole story as opposed to secondary ones who get killed off early or fade away. I designed them to keep you more interested in the story, wanted the reader to wonder; I throw in random elements to stamp them as my own, I like readers to be surprised. First I decided to make it the Captain, then I was not sure but I think I settled on Harmony Smith.”
DC: Is there a target audience and a marketing strategy?
PD: “My publisher, Arcana Publishing handles most of the marketing; they’re on the west coast. I’d say our audience is probably older teens but mostly adults. Fans of “Star Trek” or “Babylon 5” are most likely to get into this type of novel but if people like to read and give it a chance; they may like it.”
DC: Will there be a follow up to “Ark?”
PD: “I’m currently working on a different graphic novel using the same artist; it’s called “The Adventures of Spam Fram. It is based on virtual worlds that people use for entertainment like an avatar or Sims. Arcana have contracted me for three total books, so there will be two more in the series. Once I’m done with the new novel I will return to the “Ark” series.”
Arcana Publishing has priced the digital version of Dabbene’s “Ark” at $4.99 and the print edition is available for $19.95. Along with it being available at www.arcana.com and at some comic bookstores; it can also be found at Amazon.com.
Peter Dabbene’s poetry has been published in many online and print literary journals, and collected in the book Optimism. His stories can be found online at www.defenestrationmag.net, www.mcsweeneys.net, www.piginpoke.com, www.wordriot.org, and elsewhere, and his comic book work can be seen in the graphic novel Ark and the magazine Futurequake. He has published two story collections, Prime Movements and Glossolalia, and a novel, Mister Dreyfus' Demons. His latest book is the humor collection Spamming the Spammers (with Dieter P. Bieny). He writes a monthly column for the Hamilton Post(viewable at www.mercerspace.com/blog/
and reviews for BlueInk Review and Foreword Reviews His plays have been
performed in New Jersey and Philadelphia venues. His website is www.peterdabbene.com
Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program