Next month sees the return of National Poetry Day in the UK, with a theme sure to appeal to comics as well as poetry fans – Heroes and Heroines.
To mark the day, the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, has written a special poem to celebrate this theme and in Scotland, to try and encourage more poetry reading the Association for Scottish Literary Studies has teamed up with Glasgow’s Metaphrog, creators of the wonderful Louis comics, to make a four page comic adaptation of The First Men on Mercury by Edwin Morgan.
The hope is that the project will prove a way of interesting children (and adults) in poetry, visually. The story spans four, full colour A4 pages and has had the blessing of the poet himself and will be made available in print (32, 500 copies) to all pupils in Glasgow secondary schools on National Poetry Day, 8th October, and will also be made available on the web at www.metaphrog.com/mercury.
The metro newspaper ran a full page feature on the project this week; the National Poetry Day website will be linking to the online version and the Forbidden Planet Blog will also be running the strip.
This is a brilliant way of getting people excited about both poetry and comics, and, not for the first time, the Scots seem streets ahead of English arts organisations when it comes to supporting comic creators (notwithstanding the NPD supporting this idea and the Arts Council grant which was recently awarded the British International Comics Show).
“We’re thrilled to be working on this,” Metaphrog told the Forbidden Planet International blog. “Adapting poetry into comics is proving to be a really interesting project, and The First Men on Mercury, being largely dialogue-based, is ideally suited to this.”
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.