Sparks Returns as a Graphic Novel March 1st!
We announced yesterday that Cinequest 2013 would feature the world premiere of Sparks, the film adaptation of a six-issue mini-series from Catastrophic Comics released four years ago.
Though Catastrophic Comics (co-owned by William Katt and Christopher Folino) pushed the envelope with motion comics by adapting each issue of Sparks into apps, and then followed up by reviving The Greatest American Hero with Arcana Comics, market forces caused the company to go dormant for a while before it could release the last two chapters of Sparks. Just the reality of how tough it is to launch a new property in today's market.
But with the film adaptation, co-directed, written and produced by Folino, the saga of Sparks will finally be finished, collected in a handsome trade paperback graphic novel, available starting March 1st via Amazon, in either hard copy or digital download.
With daring art by JM Ringuet, Folino's story follows a young would-be superhero who discovers the dark price of justice in an alternate 1948. Manipulated by forces he doesn't understand and framed as a serial killer, the spiritually battered Ian Sparks finds the inner strength to do what's right even when everything around him keeps coming up wrong. It's grim, it's gritty, and it's complex. But now is the time to rediscover this original work.
After getting the word out about the Cinequest World Premiere, Folino took a few minutes to answer some questions, and provide Fanboy Planet with a page or two from the graphic novel, finished art-wise by the talented Tyler Endicott (I'm starting to alliterate like Stan Lee), who seamlessly meshed his style with Ringuet's.
Fanboy Planet: It's been a few years distance from when you started writing about Ian Sparks. What inspired you in the first place?
Chris Folino: The inspiration for Sparks came during one of those moments in life when you fight to make a dream come true. However, reality squarely kick you in the nut chow.
It was right after we made our first film, Gamers, and despite some critical success, the movie died a horrible death. And around that time I was collaborating with William Katt on a comic book called Mythology Wars, and we just had some challenges getting it off the ground.
I just remember thinking of the idea of Sparks being a superhero who failed at his job despite his best intentions. And you mix that with some plot twists and a film noir setting with really bad weather...
Fanboy Planet: Why wait so long for this to be collected?
Chris Folino: Lack of finances. It's hard to self-fund projects and that's what Sparks has been (self-funded). And when we did get the money (to finish it), JM was right in the middle of his own book Repossessed, and he also felt Sparks was in his past and that he didn't draw in that style anymore.
It was really difficult. JM had such a huge influence on the look of Sparks and we are talking just a few pages that were needed to finish up the story. However, Tyler Endicott came in and stepped up to finish the book strongly.
Fanboy Planet: So that brings up a good question. You worked with two artists on this story. Did you find any difference in your approach to writing for these two to bring your vision to the page?
Chris Folino: I've been very fortunate with both JM and Tyler that they have the same sensibilities and great storytelling. If anything, I just had to keep telling Tyler not to draw The Lady so hot. Endicott is guilty of wanting to increase the size of chests on women in comic books.
Fanboy Planet: And now... you have co-directed the feature film and obviously, film production is your first love. So were there any things in adapting to film that you felt you had to change or sacrifice that you hated doing?
Chris Folino: We've been very loyal to the comic book for the film, but with the movie we added a great deal of new scenes to tell the backstory. And we did change some plot points to make the film flow better.
Call me a cheat, but I went back to the graphic novel and took all the new improvements from the movie and placed them in the novel. Nobody had ever seen issues 5 and 6 of the comic book, so I felt why not release the very best story possible?
We even went back and added new pages to the start of the graphic novel. But the book and film still differ in a lot of ways; they complement each other very nicely.
Fanboy Planet: What should make Sparks the graphic novel stand out among so many grim and gritty superhero tales?
Chris Folino: Sparks is secretly an WNBA player by day and crimefighter at night? I kid. Man, there are so many great comic books out there, I just hope people find the characters and story unique in Sparks. I don't think I ever thought I'd see the day that the movie and the graphic novel would be realized. It's pretty exciting.