A New York Times Best Seller!
DC Comics/Vertigo will publish the official graphic novel adaptation of Stieg Larsson's "Millennium Trilogy," starting in Fall 2012 with THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, the international publishing phenomenon.
Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption.
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Q&A with Denisa Mina
Q: Denise, you've had tremendous success writing crime novels for over a decade. What about the comic book industry or medium keeps you coming back?
A: I'm lucky enough to get to do what I call a "joy project" once or twice a year. Writing novels is hard work and can feel a bit of a grind sometimes so usually I write a play or a comic or a documentary and I was just thinking about how I'd love to do some more comics when this came up. It's such a different form of storytelling from prose, it really refreshes me.
Q: What is different between writing a crime graphic novel, such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, versus crime novels?
A: Well, comics are such a stripped back from of narrative, there's nowhere to hide shoddy plotting or confusion. No character can go off and have a realization when you haven't plotted properly, no character can suddenly change their mind, everything has to be on the page and shown in action. That's very different. In this instance The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo wasn't my story either so I already knew what was going to happen, which I don't usually when I'm writing a novel. It's much easier!
Q: What type of obstacles, if any, did you face in adapting such a popular and iconic book in modern literary fiction?
A: I think you have to forget how much people love these books and just get on with trying to make it work for you and your editor. They are the fresh pair of eyes that can tell you when something is tedious or doesn't work. That sounds arrogant but you'd be paralyzed otherwise.
Q: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has more than a few scenes of graphic violence, especially toward women. Has it been difficult writing these types of scenes for the graphic page as opposed to the printed one?
A: I think it's easier actually. I tried to use panels that show the attack from the woman's point of view and use the visual language or graphic scenes—the bum shots, the twisted face into camera, the full body shots—only during the attack on the male character. It was a way of disorientating the reader and making them uncomfortable because visuals of sex are so familiar [...] that they often appear in visuals of sexual attacks. From the victim's point of view there's nothing sexual about that sort of thing.
Q: Lisbeth Salander is one of the most complicated and fascinating fictional characters in the last decade. What do you feel is the most essential aspect to her?
A: She has a hundred different defense mechanisms: disguise, aggression, hacking, etc., and she has finally found a way to make them work for her in the world.
Q: Do you find yourself adapting your writing differently to each artists on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Andrea Mutti and Leonardo Manco, and to their their creative strengths?
A: Not really. I can only describe the images in my head but they always do visuals that surprise and delight me. I'm not really that visual, I tend to think in words.
Q: You've worked on a monthly comic book (John Constantine: Hellblazer), as well as a few graphic novels. What is the difference between the two?
A: Well, a monthly has to have a narrative arc that spans twenty-two pages and then adds up to form another distinct arc for six episodes for the trade paperback. The graphic novels are a scoosh compared to that, believe me. Also the monthly comics have to be written to a very strict episodic schedule and graphic novels, not so much.
Q: So far, you've worked on a few projects for Vertigo, including John Constantine: Hellblazer, as well as the Vertigo Crime original graphic novel A Sickness in the Family. Could you ever envision yourself working on something for the mainstream DC Universe?
A: I'd give anything a go, with the proviso that if I make a hash of it they don't use it. Comic editors can be pretty straightforward and I think they'd tell you!
Q: What do you hope that part one of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo communicates that the novel or film did not?
A: In the book Salander's mother has been beaten half to death by her father and is brain damaged because of it. This didn't really come over in the films (in the American version her mother isn't in it). I think this is hugely significant and she cannot let herself be a victim, which is what makes her a hero.
The two pages Leo Manco has done for this are the best pages of graphic art I think I've ever read. I can't even imagine how that could be done in any other medium, either.
A Look Inside The Girl with the Dragon TattooPage 1
Click here for a larger imagePage 2
Click here for a larger imagePage 3
Click here for a larger imageAbout the Author:
Denise Mina is the award-winning author of eight acclaimed crime novels and is one of the leading figures in Scotland's "Tartan Noir" genre of crime fiction. Denise made her comics debut with a 13-issue run of HELLBLAZER in 2006-2007. Her first graphic novel was the Vertigo Crime title A SICKNESS IN THE FAMILY.
Stieg Larsson, who lived in Sweden, was the editor in chief of the magazine EXPO and a leading expert on antidemocratic right-wing extremist and Nazi organizations. He died in 2004, shortly after delivering the manuscripts for THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST.
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