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“The benefit of hindsight”
The Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics are back with another fun conversation, this time with artist I. N. J. Culbard. They talk with him about his latest book, The King in Yellow (SelfMadeHero), a graphic adaptation of Robert W. Chambers’s macabre collection of stories originally published in 1895. To be more specific, Culbard actually takes the first four stories from Chambers’s original work, the ones that reference the notorious fictional play referenced in the title — “The Repairer of Reputations,” “The Mask,” “In the Court of the Dragon,” and “The Yellow Sign” — and adapts those. As Ian reveals, he attempts to stay true to the spirit of the original, while at the same time making creative changes that will more fully bring out the stories’ tone and present them in more of a thematic whole. In fact, Derek suggests that Ian has actually made The King in Yellow better by giving it more structural cohesion, using the four stories in such a way that the book becomes short-story cycle, or more appropriate to the medium, a graphic cycle. The guys spend a lot of time discussing the new book, the artist’s storytelling choices, and especially Culbard’s larger philosophy on adaptation and comics. However, they also explore a variety of Ian’s earlier works, including his ongoing adaptations of H. P. Lovecraft narratives (of which we can expect more in the near future), his many collaborations with both Ian Edgington and Dan Abnett, and his solo work from last year, Celeste. If you aren’t previously familiar with the work of I. N. J. Culbard, then this is your chance to get introduced to one of the best adapters, and best artists, working in comics today.