What are some alternative comic book creators
Luke Pearson finishes "Hilda" comics : "I want to do something different again"
The Briton Luke Pearson has made a name for himself internationally with his comic series "Hilda". The Netflix adaptation of the story about the young, fearless titular heroine with the blue hair, which is filled with fantastic elements, made the British author and illustrator known far beyond the comic scene. The second season should be released in 2020. Of the comic series on which it is based, which is primarily aimed not only at young readers, the latest volume will be published in German these days: “Hilda und der Bergkönig” (reproduced from the English by Michael Groenewald and Matthias Wieland, hand lettered by Michael Hau , 80 p., 20 €). Some time ago Luke Pearson visited the Pictoplasma Festival in Berlin, Lars von Törne asked him about his work at an event organized by Reprodukt Verlag - and found out that the current band is also the last in the series. Here Pearson explains why.
Luke Pearson, a lot of people only got to know "Hilda" through the Netflix adaptation. What role did you play in the TV implementation of your comic series?
Officially, I was the co-producer of the series. I only found out that that was my title when I saw the credits where my name appeared. The production company was keen to have me with them from the start. They wanted to know what my ideas would be for such an implementation. So I had my hands in it when it came to the general planning of the implementation, and then also with the design of the characters for the adaptation.
The TV adaptation is not only very close to the comics in visual terms, but also in the characterization of most of the characters and in terms of the connection between realistic and fantastic sequences. To what extent did you have full control over it and to what extent did you have to surrender it?
The implementation was done by a large company in Ottawa, Mercury Films. But I contributed a lot of sketches, on the basis of which the team there then took on the specific design. And especially with central characters like Hilda or her mother, they tried to stick very closely to my templates. I had very specific ideas about how Hilda should look, how she should move and so on. And the production team did a great job respecting my wishes. That was taken very well into account, especially with those aspects that meant a lot to me.
The plot of the TV series is only partly based on the plot of your comics ...
Yes. I wrote some of the episodes that were implemented in the series parts. In principle, they are based on my books, but they are also quite different from them. Some episodes were completely rewritten, which was often the result of a group process in which I was one of several participants. And I drew a storyboard for the title sequence. I also selected the speakers for the characters. But in other areas I have been very reluctant, because these people know exactly what they are doing.
In the beginning, “Hilda” wasn't designed as a comic series, but rather emerged from a single project. The series has now grown to six volumes, 13 TV episodes have been published so far, and another season is planned for 2020. At that time it was already foreseeable which dimensions the narrative would take on.
No, not at all. In the beginning I only had a few pictures of this figure, which resulted in the first album at the suggestion of my publisher. And after its success, further volumes gradually emerged in discussions with my publisher. And that there would ever be a cartoon about it was at most one of those ideas in the beginning that I thought would be great - but I never thought it would really come to that.
Before you had great success with "Hilda", you also worked as an illustrator. Do you still have time for such projects?
No, I haven't had the time for that for a long time. Although I also don't long to do illustrations for magazines and the like. There are very strict deadlines and I am often not really satisfied with the end result. But as I said: At the moment my time is completely filled with working on the TV adaptation, there is no time left for comics either.
Does that mean there won't be any more comics with this character after the current Hilda album is out?
Yes, this will be the last installment of the Hilda comics for a long time. I also don't think about doing any more comics with the character. I've invested so much time in this project, I want to do something different again. The next comic I make - and it's going to be quite a challenge - is going to be something completely different. Something completely new, fresh.
But do you stay true to comics despite your success in television? Or is there a risk that you will devote yourself entirely to film, like Hayao Miyazaki or Marjane Satrapi, who, as former comic artists, wandered there after their successful excursions into the film world?
No, I'm staying true to the comic. In the world of cartoons, I'm still primarily the creator of the comic that is being implemented there. So I'm not thinking about what my next suggestion for an animated film series will be. I feel the need to keep doing comics.
Before the great success with “Hilda” you also drew comics that were intended more for an adult audience, such as the graphic novel “Was Du nicht Siehst”, a dark relationship drama, which was also published in German. This book is very different from what “Hilda” fans know about you. Will your development continue in this direction now?
I don't think that's the direction I want to go. Back then, before Hilda, that was definitely the kind of comic I actually wanted to do more of. If I see "What you do not see" today, it is a work of my former self, and nothing that I wanted to do now. I've evolved. Now I'm more interested in making more books for children. I have learned that I can do this well and I want to develop the skills I have acquired so far in this area.
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