Shadow – graphic novel with Uwe Carow


As an author, I’m pretty text oriented. I’d love to be able to sketch or paint, but if I can’t do it with words, it’s just not going to happen. So I’m as surprised as anybody to say that I’ve just published a graphic novel. More accurately, I’ve written the text for a graphic novel, with the art thankfully provided by an actual artist – Uwe Carow.

Shadow started life as a concept. An online SFF magazine I was interested in said they’d be interested in hyperlinked stories, but didn’t receive many. I started thinking about interesting ways to take advantage of hyperlinks (see some experiments in the Oddities section of the site). As these things do, my imagining quickly wandered, until I was thinking about story structures in general.

One of my structure ideas was to tell the negative of a story – to tell a story through absences, or through gaps, rather than positive description. When I actually sat down to try it out, the concept merged with another idea – telling the story of the peripheral characters that flit in and out of the margins of epic quest stories. It’s always felt a little sad to me that these characters are left out.

In short, the story ended up as the story of an epic quest, but told through minor characters, after the fact. In the footsteps of the heroes, after they’ve done their hero-ing and someone else has to clean up.

A fellow writer, Zed Paul Draeco, suggested the “Shadow” story was image-rich and might do well with illustrations. I loved the idea, and started looking around. Pretty soon, I ran across German artist Uwe Carow, and a book he’d done with Red Bug Books – Der Fänger – a version of the Pied Piper story.

Uwe took the idea and ran with it, turning the story from a short story with illustrations to a full-fledged graphic novel. He turned out image after great image, always true to the story and always with his own take on the action. A dark story became darker.

I enjoyed writing this, and working with Uwe while he turned words into visions. He and Red Bug Books also did the hard work of turning our concept into an actual book, with the help of Katrin Bongard for the cover, and Lukas Horn for the lettering. Shadow has come a long way from concept and story to substantial graphic novel. I hope you like it.

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