Introduction by Jim Butcher
I know The Dresden Files
got a lot of people’s attention when it aired on the Sci-Fi Channel, but there’s a secret I’ve been needing to get off my chest: In my head, it’s always been an animated cartoon. In fact, when I’m writing it, I actually see panels from a comic book–sorry, graphic novel–in my mind’s eye.
So when the Dabel Brothers came along and expressed an interest in adapting the books to a graphic novel format, I couldn’t have been happier.
See, back in the day (when you just called them "comic books" and "graphic novels" wouldn’t really come into common use until the release of Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
in 1986), I collected a lot of titles. In point of fact, from 1983 to 1986, I collected every single Marvel title with the exception of the overtly marketed toy tie-in titles (Transformers, GI Joe
) and those less-than-successful "New Universe" titles.
Yeah. All of them.
I stopped looking up the value of all those titles about a quarter of the way in. It was too depressing. My mom threw 99 percent of them away when I was off at college. Not that I would have sold them, anyway. Money might be money, but what I loved were the stories; the heroes, the villains, the victims, the explosions, desperate battles, heroic sacrifice–the stuff of legends. At least, they were to that 12- to 15-year-old boy. Those comic books–they were NOT graphic novels back then–stirred my imagination and deeply influenced the kinds of stories I would write myself one day.
So when the Dabels offered me the chance to write an original story in the Dresden Files, as an introduction for the adaptation of the novels, I jumped at the chance! Ah hah! I’d gotten to write a Spider-Man novel for Marvel, but this was going to be even better!
Nobody told me how much *work* it would be.
I mean, a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Well, there are between one and six pictures on every single page of a graphic novel, and when you’re the writer, you’re the one who has to produce the thousand words. You’ve got to tell the artist what you want on the page, give him some idea of perspective, of mood and tone, and generally give him a good notional skeleton to draw the sketches on. When you’re a noob writer for this format, like me, you also have to work out when you’re asking for the impossible and when you’re telling the artist everything he doesn’t need to know, and nothing that he does.
It’s intense. In its own way, it’s harder than writing a novel.
I’m really proud of the results.
"Welcome to the Jungle" is a story set in the world of the Dresden Files, immediately prior to the events of Storm Front.
Drawn by the tremendously gifted newcomer Ardian Syaf, I can honestly say that the representation of the characters found here is very, very close to the images of them that exist in my head. Harry is bang-on, in particular, and I just keep getting more impressed with the art being produced to go with the story I’ve written. Put together, I think they make for a fine comic book.
I don’t think I’ll apologize for that one. Comic books opened up a whole universe of imagination to a kid who rushed to the local comic shop each week, eager to buy issues for seventy-five cents to one dollar apiece. Comic books helped awaken my own desire to tell stories, and played a pivotal role in shaping my own storytelling style. I see no slur in the name, no disrespect, and never have.
Even so, I can respect the opinions of others. So welcome to the first issue of the first original Dresden Files graphic novel–"Welcome to the Jungle."
Excerpted from The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher and Ardian Syaf. Copyright © 2008 by Jim Butcher and Ardian Syaf. Excerpted by permission of Del Rey/Dabel Brothers, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.