After a bit of a break, Dynamite Entertainment is adapting the back half of A Clash of Kings as a comic book, with writer Landry Q. Walker hard at work adapting the second book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire to an entirely different type of medium. The Clash of Kings book also features artist Mel Rubi, colorist Ivan Nunes, and letterer Tom Napolitano.
Walker sat down with Comics Beat to discuss his approach. Of course, it helps that Walkers is a huge fan of the books. “I’ve been a fan of the series since 2003, give or take,” he said. “Even then, reading as a reader versus reading to adapt the material… very different experience.”
I read the book now in stages, and it’s kind of like peeling an onion. I take a chapter and break down the dialogue and basic beats of action. Then I format it so that it’s closer in structure to a comic script. Then I scan for logical page breaks. Then I scan it again for logical panel breaks. Then I edit it down until it all fits into the limited space we have visually. It’s a process, and I usually work on three issues at once. There are some bits that are heartrendingly left to the cutting room floor—we try hard to minimize this. But then there’s also an element of taking note of when the art can tell what Martin told in prose. A balance exists between remaining true to the source and respecting the demands of a visual medium.
Notably, Walker hasn’t seen any episodes of Game of Thrones for years because he doesn’t want the show to shape how he writes the comic, which is sticking very close to Martin’s book. He does listen to the show’s soundtrack while working, though, which is hard to begrudge him.
It sounds like he’s not even sure what’s coming down the line in Clash, although I think he’s kidding? “I hear there’s a big battle coming?” he said, alluding to the epic Battle of Blackwater. “Some kind of siege. I’m both looking forward to that and terrified of it. I’m a big fan of medieval warfare. So much so that I wrote my own graphic novel for Image Comics called ‘The Last Siege,’ which features a silent 28-page battle with all two page spreads. So yeah, that will be fun. But then you think about the logistics. We have so little space and that chapter deserves giant gate-folds at every turn. It will be a challenge. Rewarding, but still…”
As for who he likes to write, Walker has a soft spot for the Tyrion/Cersei dynamic. “There is an interesting balance between the hatred they have for each other combined with the sibling familiarity,” he said. “It doesn’t matter that they’re enemies… there’s more to their relationship than what’s on the surface. I mean, we all know it won’t go well. But at this stage, where there are elements of brother/sister dynamic still…. it’s fun to consider how that affects the body language. How they lower their guard in expression and mannerism once everyone else has left the room.”
A Clash of Kings #1 is available for pre-order now and will be released in January 2020.