Teaser Tuesday: CLOCKWORK ANGELS: The Comic Scripts

Clockwork Angels is a steampunk fantasy adventure—and an innovative multimedia feast!

Based on a story and lyrics by legendary drummer Neil Peart, Clockwork Angels became the worldwide bestselling concept album by Rush and was developed into a New York Times bestselling and award-winning novel by Kevin J. Anderson.

Anderson and Peart, working with comics artist Nick Robles, brought the epic tale to a visual canvas, a six-issue graphic novel published by BOOM! Studios. Clockwork Angels: The Comic Scripts pulls aside the creative curtain, showing the original scripts, panel by panel, interactions between author and artist, as well as all the secret “Easter eggs” intentionally planted throughout the images as a special treat for Rush fans.

Clockwork Angels: The Comic Scripts is a fascinating book in its own right, to be studied by comic writers, Rush fans, Kevin J. Anderson fans—and anyone interested in a truly astonishing story of a young man’s journey across a remarkable steampunk landscape with airships, pirates, alchemy, lost cities, a fabulous carnival, and a hero who insists on making his dreams come true.

Clockwork Angels: The Comic Scripts is available in all eBook formats and in trade paperback.  The comics themselves are available from BOOM! Studios.

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Here is the introduction written by Ian Brill, the BOOM! Studios editor on the project.

Wouldn’t It Be Cool If…?

I’m in Susina Bakery on Beverly Boulevard, enjoying one Los Angeles’s best cups of coffee. Well, not exactly. I’m physically there, sure. Mentally, I’m standing before the Temples of Syrinx. Rush’s classic “2112” is blaring in my earbuds for the umpteenth—no, sorry, the umpteenth and fifth—time. A thought stretches itself out over the galloping rhythms, “Why isn’t there a comic book inspired by Rush?”

This was in 2011. By then I had edited some of the comics based on Coheed & Cambria’s Amory Wars saga. I had been nominated for a Harvey Award for editing the CBGB comic book anthology, a collection of stories inspired by the legendary Bowery Club. I loved the experiences. But to bring a band like Rush to comics would be the next level. This is band with multiple platinum albums, they sell out arenas on every tour, and somewhere in the world a classic rock station is playing “Limelight” RIGHT NOW. It would be great to bring them to comics. But they’re way too big…right?

In late 2013 Jasmine Amiri, one of my assistant editors, and I were told by Managing Editor Bryce Carlson that there’s going to be a Rush comic book. Sometimes silly little daydreams come true. They certainly do when you work at a company with CEO Ross Richie, President of Publishing & Marketing Filip Sablik, and Vice President of Licesing & Marchandising Lance Kreiter. Three bigger Rush fans you could not find. I was told that we were going to be the next step in the evolution of Clockwork Angels. First it was the concept album, then Kevin J. Anderson turned it into a novel, and now we, working with Kevin and Neil Peart, were going to do the first full-length visual interpretation of this amazing steampunk fantasy.

No pressure, right? It was time to start thinking big.

The first step was to find an artist who could tackle the amazing world that Neil and Kevin had built. An almost impossible job, and our job was to find someone who could pull off this impossible job. So did that mean our job was doubly impossible? If so, that didn’t stop us from trying. We considered many artists, from newcomers to veterans, and eventually Jasmine found an artist who had displayed some sequential comics on his DeviantArt page, but had nothing published. Still, there was a rich quality to his painted work. It was different than anything we’d seen happen in comics in a long, long while. We tested him on a few pages, shared his work with Kevin, who shared it with Neil—and that’s how Nick Robles became the artist on the Clockwork Angels comic.

Then the magic really happened. Kevin, Neil, Jasmine, Nick, and I became what Neil described as the “quorum.” We were a small group, but one capable of great creative feats. I suppose Neil has a pretty good sense of the creative heights a small group of individuals can achieve. Many ideas on how to bring Owen Hardy’s world of Albion to life were batted around, and the best ideas came to fore. No ego, everyone realized we were working towards the same goal.

I have overseen a lot of comic book projects, and it’s rare to find a team that works so well together. But that’s just another example of how special the Clockwork Angels comic has been.

The great efforts extended to our initial designer on the book, Emi Yonemura Brown, who crafted a beautiful credits page and who brilliantly packaged Nick’s artwork for the subscription covers. Ed Dukeshire continued the grand tradition of quality. Ed has lettered a million books for us. When I saw him exclaim with excitement that we were doing a book with Rush, one of his favorite bands, there was no question of who I was going to pick to letter this project. The good work continued with designer Kara Leopard and our lead designer Scott Newman. Throughout this project, I saw so many examples of talented individuals inspiring others: That’s the one thing I will treasure most about this project.

You will now discover some of the sources of inspiration here. Kevin’s scripts provided that vital bridge between the novel and the comic. Kevin already knew the story so well. When Jasmine and I had feedback for him, it was mostly of the structural type—things like how many panels work best on a page, given how much was going on in a certain sequence. Sometimes we’d chime in with a “wouldn’t it be cool if…”

That was a constant for this series, someone asking someone else “wouldn’t it be cool if…” All the cool ideas grew and grew, talents building on talents.

Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a comic book based on one of Rush’s most amazing concept albums? By now you know the answer.

Ian Brill
BOOM! Studios editor

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