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How I Turned S.E. Hinton into a Graphic Novelist

I grew up reading S.E. Hinton books and always had a fondness for her storytelling. I had a hard time reading as a kid and I really gravitated to her books as well as comics. My parents were excited that I was reading as gifts to my niece and nephews.

I have been producing comic books for 10 years now. We have had a lot of success with our titles over he years. We have had a couple things optioned for film. A lot of what we produce comes from my childhood. We do a lot of Greek mythos books set in modern day world because of my love for the film “Clash of the Titans”. We just released a graphic novel on the sequel to that film. We also work with the Vincent Price estate. Nothing scared me more as a kid than Mr. Price.

We recently have started to work with William F. Nolan, who co-created Logan’s Run. After making the film of the novel, Nolan has publicly come out about not loving a lot of the film. So when we decided to do Logan’s Run as a comic book series, we worked with Nolan to create the updated look and feel of how he imagined it looking. When we had “Legend of Isis” optioned at Paramount, they totally changed it from what the comic book I created. I always want to make sure that the authors we work with get to see their vision the way they envisioned it. I tried writing a novel, which did not go so smoothly; let’s just say that I now have a huge respect for authors.

My publishing company, Bluewater Productions just started getting into doing biography comic books. We are trying to get new readers into comic books. As I mentioned before, I had a hard time reading as a child. Comic books were one of the tools my parents got me to improve my reading skills. These comic books have been very well received by comic fans also schools and libraries. The “Female Force” series focuses on strong, independent women making a difference in our society. I have loved picking the subjects of these from Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin to Oprah. We just started showcasing novelists like JK Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Charlaine Harris and Anne Rice. We do have plans for more novelists in the future. We also do biographies on male politicians as well as celebrities.

Recently, we just started working with William Shatner on his line of books when I thought there was not a lot out there for young adults. I looked no further than my book shelf and saw S.E. Hinton's Outsiders and Tex novels.

I sent her an email to ask her if she would be interested in doing some graphic novels of her work. She responded right away with a big "YES." She loved the idea of bringing her stories to a new demographic. We even took it one step further and are having her do a brand new young adult novel as a graphic novel. It will be the 1st time she has come back to this genre in 30 years.

Working one on one with her has been amazing. I love getting notes from her on the books that we are doing. When we work with people on these books, we do not like to license them. We really want to make them a partner in the process. From William Shatner, Ray Harryahusen and now S.E. Hinton, this process makes it not only fun for myself, but fans can see that these people are really a part of the book.

Hinton has told me the idea of the new story that she is creating for the 3rd graphic novel. It is such a cool idea, on the lines of what she did with her classic young adult novels. I am sure that her core fans as well as legions of new ones will love it as well. People of all ages know S.E. Hinton’s work but she has always been an inspiration to me.

Darren G. Davis is the head of Bluewater Productions, a graphic novel and comic book publisher in Vancouver, Washington whose other titles include everything from Olivia Newton-John (in a cancer-awareness fundraiser) to Justin Bieber.

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