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It’s A Ga Ga World


Queen & Ben Elton’s Hit Musical We Will Rock You gets a new book – A Comic Book
Graphic novel series based on the world of We Will Rock You
First volume Tales of Ga Ga: Bohemian Uprising Now Available

Graphic Novel CoverWith news just in that the legacy of rock band Queen is to become a feature film in which Sacha Baron Cohen is to star as Freddie, now comes news that the band’s long running West End hit musical We Will Rock You is also to appear in pictures, albeit pictures of the still kind.

Next week sees the on-sale of the first of a series of graphic novels - in older days know as comic books – based on the visual world of the Ben Elton & Queen hit show which continues to run at London’s Dominion Theatre having been pleasing audiences for almost nine years.

Tales of Ga Ga, hasalready been drawn as three books, with more expected to follow.  The first volume: Tales of Ga Ga: Bohemian Uprising, will become available from the Dominion Theatre later this week.

The Tales of Ga Ga series is conceived by Willie Williams, the lighting designer and co-video director of the stage production, as a way of expanding the world created in the show: a contrasting world of underground hideaways and mighty corporate towers, against which bohemian rebels battle against the Killer Queen and her mind police in their quest to rediscover and reignite the mighty power of rock music.

Using Elton’s original scripts (including material cut from the final version of the stage show) Williams adapted them into cartoon strip form, building story lines that begin very much in the musical but are free to take new directions.

Graphic Novel CoverFrom Williams’ storyboards, the graphic novel was drawn by a small team of graphic artists who had also been involved in creating some of the video material for We Will Rock You.  Damian Hale was the principal character artist, with backgrounds created from 3D CAD models by Richard Cullen and Luke Halls.

Writes Williams: “From first reading, it was clear to me that We Will Rock You described a world that would be ideally suited to the form of a graphic novel.  On stage we are limited to action that is physically possible within a theatre space, so I was interested in seeing what might emerge if we were to translate the story into another medium, one in which anything is possible.  As the series progresses, there is great potential for new stories, exploring new characters or delving further into the lives of characters that we might only see briefly on stage.

Of course there is no music in a graphic novel, which was the most significant challenge in reinterpreting We Will Rock You for the printed page.  In the absence of music, we thought that it would be interesting to include a couple of pages of ‘small ads’ of the kind seen in comic books of the 60’s – impossibly exotic-sounding products described with a great economy of words and often misleading illustrations.  This started as a bit of fun, but ultimately the ads have become a very important aspect of describing the world in which the stories are set.

I was also greatly inspired by the ‘re-imagining’ of some classic comic book characters, like Zombie Batman, or Superman reinvented as a Soviet hero battling capitalism.”

Will we eventually see zombie Bohemians roaming the streets of Ga Ga Land?  “Only time will tell,” says Williams.

Tales of Ga Ga: Bohemian Uprising, volume 1 of 3, is available now. Edition of 44 pages. Cover price £5.00.

We Will Rock You - with all the music missing from the graphic novels - continues to run at the Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Road, London, W1. Tottenham Court Road tube station. Booking to April 2011.  Ticket line: 0844 847 1775.


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