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This week sees the the release of Elric Vol. 1: The Ruby Throne, the latest comic book incarnation of Michael Moorcock’s long-lived fantasy series, with creators Julien Blondel, Robin Recht, Didier Poli and Jean Bastide creating what Moorcock himself calls “the best graphic adaptation of the story” to date. “It is perhaps the first graphic version of Elric fully to capture the sense of utter decadence I tried to convey in the books,” he added.
Talking to The Hollywood Reporter, Moorcock expands on that comment. “What this new French version does is tap the same romantic symbolism as I used in the originals and add some ideas which I might have come up with had I been writing it now,” he explains.
Referring to earlier collaborations with artist Walter Simonson, the writer says, “I’m still very proud of the work we did on Michael Moorcock’s Multiverse as well as Elric: Making of a Sorcerer. He’s an astonishing artist. We are good friends and I would work with him again in an instant,” he says, before joking, “It’s fair to say, however, that Walter doesn’t have a decadent bone in his body.”
The Ruby Throne continues a long tradition of comic book versions of the character, which began in 1972’s Conan the Barbarian No. 14, and continued through material published by Marvel Comics, First Comics, DC Comics and BOOM! Studios, before the new Titan Comics release.
“Some of my earliest work was in comics. I tend to think in pictures and always like to write scenes possessing the dynamic you find in comics. That’s probably why the character seems to go naturally into visual media,” Moorcock reasons. “I’m extremely visual and think in terms of symbols.”
When asked about Elric’s longevity — the character first appeared in an issue of Science Fantasy in 1961 — Moorcock goes back to the universal nature of the character. “Some popular fiction is like folklore and mythology, it somehow resonates with people and can be reinterpreted again and again,” he says. “To write Elric, I went as far back to sources as much as I could — to the German and English Gothics, Melmoth in particular, and to primarily Scandinavian and Celtic mythology.”
With this much emphasis on the visual aspect of the character, it might be wondered if the time was finally right for Elric to transition into movies, following more than two decades of failed attempts. “There have been a few scripts done, but until relatively recently I wasn’t keen on the idea of a movie,” Moorcock admits.
More recently, however, “the effects at last came to serve the director, rather than the other way round,” he adds, saying that now “a good Elric could be made as long as a decent palette of symbols…was used. A consistent narrative, emphasizing the visual elements of the story, could now be done and there are directors out there now who know how to use the medium.”
Elric Vol. 1: The Ruby Throne will be released in comic stores Wednesday, Sept. 17.
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