Written and Illustrated by Jonathan King, Published by Gecko Press

Earlier this summer, I began my own personal graphic novel reading challenge. I was unfamiliar with this genre and wanted to change my understanding of that. When I was given the opportunity to read a brand new graphic novel, I leaped at the chance.

The Inkberg Enigma is a mysterious adventure and it is an amazing graphic novel! I loved being able to ask Jonathan King some questions about the book and his inspirations.

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Miro is the ultimate book worm, feeding his habit by selling items from the attic.  Zia is the daring friend to pull him into an adventure.  Are these characters based on anyone in your life? 

Zia is the adventurer I’d love to be; Miro is the stay-at-home, nose in a book person I’m much more like. I’d love to have adventures, and I love imagining that they’re hiding just around the corner … But I’m more likely to lie on the couch and read about one (or writeabout one) than really go and make one happen!

The legend behind the book and its links to history is brilliant.  Where did the inspiration for this story come from?

I don’t think anyone with any knowledge of Antarctic adventure could fail to miss the homage to the incredible Shackleton story in my book: the ship trapped in the ice and the heroic voyage to safety. One of my frames of the trapped ship is closely based on the astounding photographs by Frank Hurley, who accompanied the expedition.

 Is there a difficulty in keeping the story succinct so it works as a graphic novel? Were there parts that had to be edited out?

The requirement that you’ll have to actually draw everything you think of is a great incentive to edit as you go!

Is there a distinctive relationship between graphic novels and films? Do you feel as though The Inkberg Enigma could become a film?

I only ever saw it as a comic / graphic novel the whole time I was working on it; certainly it found its shape in the penciling and planning — a totally different way from how I’d develop a film story. I think the similarities between comics and films is superficial: while they play with images and words and time, as your eyes move across the page, the comic artist controls them in very different ways from the filmmaker. But … now that’s it’s done: yes, I can see The Inkberg Enigma as a film! 

How do you strike the balance between text and the use of illustrations to tell the story?

One key filmmaking tool I may have carried over, is ‘show don’t tell’. Wherever possible I like to show something with an image, reinforcing it with words if necessary, but not just talking heads saying what’s going on. But, for things like my flashbacks in the story — which are narrated as a journal, the words were very important. 

I am spending my summer reading graphic novels, do you have any recommendations? 

For ‘kids’ comics I will always recommend Tintin; Jeff Smith’s Bone is an incredible epic. Katie O’Neill’s Tea Dragon Society books are lovely. For ‘adult’ graphic novels some of my all-time favourites are Darwyn Cooke’s hard case crime Parker books and Dylan Horrocks’The Magic Pen. 

Thank you so much, Jonathan, for taking the time to answer my questions. I thoroughly enjoyed The Inkberg Enigma and found it the perfect blend of mystery, legend and thriller.

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