Saturday, September 1, 2012

J. R. R. Tolkien: The Comic Book

So, a few days ago I was looking through the Tolkien offerings on amazon's Kindle store site and came up with some unusual ones, three of which I ordered. The strangest, and the only one I've looked at in any detail so far, is called ORBIT: J. R. R. TOLKIEN: THE TRUE LORD OF THE RINGS, by Brian McCarthy and Michael Lent. This turns out to be a comic book biography of JRRT from Bluewater Comics, whom I'd not heard of before; part of a line ('Orbit') that includes Keith Richards (!), Howard Stern (!!) and Stephen King.* The Tolkien book is supposed to have come out in May, but I'm having trouble finding out if it actually ever shipped.

Here's an announcement of it as forthcoming on the Bluewater site, which also includes a view of the cover:

Here's the catch-22: I was able to buy the Kindle version of this comic, but it turns out to be virtually impossible to read. My old Kindle is black & white, and reading a comic book page in a swirly blurry style with tiny type all in a space about the same size as an index card is an exercise in frustration. Even after borrowing my wife's iPad reading the comic is difficult and time-consuming: I have to select and blow-up each page and move the cursor around to follow it panel by panel. And even then I ran into the problem that blowing up a panel large enough for me to read it meant blurring the type, meaning I had to choose between small and thus illegible or large but semi-legible. There's got to be an easier way to read a comic.

I can't order a print copy via amazon, because Bluewater chose to make this a comic store exclusive, not sold through any other venue. And upon visiting my friendly local comics shop today (The Comic Hut in downtown Renton, for the first time in much too long**), they told me it's not available through their distributor and hence not something they cd special-order me. In fact, it seems their distributor solicited it in March and cancelled it in April, if I understood rightly, casting doubt on whether it ever came out at all in physical (non-ebook) form.

So there I'm stuck. I'd gladly buy a copy, if I had the option (indeed, I have bought a copy, it's just in a really horrible-to-read format). I'm probably as close to the target audience as they're likely to find (I mean, this wd be the third comic book adaptation featuring JRRT or his work I have).*** But they don't seem to have left open a mean whereby I can get it. I'll post here if that changes.

--John R.
today's song: Medicine Jar.

*apparently at one time they were also thinking of doing a Gary Gygax comics bio, but I don't know if anything ever came of this.
**mainly because I more or less gave up reading comics after I switched to manga.
***the other two being Wenzel's graphic novel adaptation of THE HOBBIT and that strange fantasy story in comic-book form starring Charles Williams, HEAVEN'S GATE, which had JRRT (or a caricature thereof) in a few scenes.


Druss said...

Tolkien appears quickly in a story about C.S. Lewis, in a Doctor Who comics :

Jason Fisher said...

By coincidence, this comic book is reviewed in the new Mythprint. I got a review copy from the publisher in PDF format, but I don't have it in print either.

John D. Rateliff said...

hi Druss
Thanks for the link to the Dr. Who Inklings bit; hadn't known about that one. A bit dismissive of JRRT, but then the bit about him not liking Narnia is a fair cop.

hi Jason
Good to know it's getting reviewed. A pd wd be worlds better in terms of readability than what I got off Amazon Kindle. Maybe there'll be a print version sometime. That's enable me to tell if a few peculiarities I noticed are real or an effect of poor viewing conditions.



Troels said...

Can't the kindle file be transferred and read in a kindle-app on the PC? I don't have a Kindle, but I've read books in that format using an application from Amazon (though I haven't tried to install it after changing computers, so it may have been closed).