|"King Kong" #1, Page 27|
For those of you whose "King Kong" jones won't be satisfied by just the movie, Dark Horse Comics has a solution for you. One week after the film hits theaters, Dark Horse will release the first issue of the three-part series "Kong: The 8th Wonder of the World" Movie Adaptation by writer Christian Gossett ("The Red Star") and artist Dustin Weaver. They've been tasked with the job of bringing Peter Jackson's vision to comics, which is no small feat indeed. CBR News spoke with Gossett about the series and how he came to be its writer.
"Having worked on the film last year, I was already very familiar with the production and what its goals were in the revitalization of 'King Kong' as they have re-imagined it," Gossett told CBR News. "As a result of having worked for Richard Taylor and the Kong design team, I was already cleared legally to view the script, which was being very closely protected by Jackson's company and Universal. Since I was a known quantity, this made things simpler to get started. Licensed properties of this magnitude are a high-wire act of coordination, and having these matters already settled before I wrote a single page was a significant enough advantage."
|"King Kong" #1, Page 28|
The original "King Kong" clocked in at around 90 minutes long. This remake by Jackson is reportedly weighing in at a mammoth three hours long. So, is three 40 page comic books really enough space to capture the entire story? "A frame by frame retelling of the script in comics form isn't the best way to adapt it to comics for several reasons, artistically, commercially, etc," said Gossett. "A cool shot on screen has a different compositional anatomy than a cool shot on the comics page, and vice versa. There are key moments, key images, that can work when frozen in time, but character development and exposition are where the two mediums are really distinct. There are ways to play with the human eye on a comics page that a movie screen cannot accomplish, and (sorry for the repetition) vice versa. Ultimately, the artist will have final say about these kinds of visual translations, and as I'm a penciler myself, I was trying to stay out of his way as much as possible.
"It's an interesting job, adaptation, because your goal is to be an invisible servant of the source material while simultaneously making bold decisions as to how to translate one 'story language'-- (in this case the language of cinema) into the other-- (in this case the language of comics storytelling)," continued Gossett. "Again, before this gig, I thought it a much more straightforward process-- to the point where all of 'The Red Star' is written on screenwriting software-- but format aside, I kind of see cinema as conducting a symphony and comics as fronting a punk band. It's been a great experience to break both forms down."
|"King Kong" #1, Page 29|
An overzealous film director, his leading lady, and a screenwriter head to a mysterious island to shoot their movie where they find out the legendary beat that reportedly inhabits the island does exist. Troubles emerged when the Island native capture the leading lady as a sacrifice to the monster, King Kong. The crew ventures into the jungle on the island to find Kong and capture him. At least, that's what we know thus far. The full script to Jackson's epic has been under close guard and even Gossett isn't allowed to reveal too much about the adaptation's story. "I apologize for not being able to reveal anything about the story, but I can say this: This production of 'King Kong' is being made with every bit as much passion, love, and attention to detail as was given to the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy. A good amount of the people who made the 'Rings' films the legendary movie experience that they are also worked on 'Kong'; and their collective approach to storytelling, from the leaders of the project whose names and faces we know, all the way through to the front line heroes of the crew, dutifully applying spot make up in the middle of a freezing Wellington night, is unique in the world. Having had the pleasure to meet them and work with them, I can say without exaggeration that this film exhibits a level of cinematic craftsmanship that we have not seen since 'Return of the King.'"
Most readers probably think of Gossett first as an artist, for his amazing visuals on the creator owned series "The Red Star" or on last year's "Elektra: The Hand." With "Kong," Gossett occupies the writer's chair only, leaving the visuals up to series artist Dustin Weaver. "It's funny, actually-- being an artist that has drawn his own scripts for the last five years, my first drafts were skeletal as far as panel description. I knew the artist was going to be getting visual reference from Universal Consumer Products Division (the local holders of the Kong production imagery) so I kept referring to props, sets, characters and costumes in a very, very brief kind of shorthand style manner. Randy helped me recall that there is a difference between artistic liberty and not giving a penciler enough to work from. Like I said, I'm trying to be invisible here-- this project is not about me. I'm nothing but the happy messenger."