One of the biggest challenges of adapting E.O. Wilson’s Naturalist (available Nov. 10, but you can pre-order it now!), was in picking the right spot to end. He had, as I recall, three good endings in his book, but for the graphic novel adaptation we didn’t have the space. So I had to pick one, and I didn’t pick the same last lines as he used.
This made me nervous. As a self-taught comics guy, I didn’t (and shouldn’t!) feel qualified to edit a writer like him, a world famous scientist with two Pulitzer Prizes.
But my experience with Ray Bradbury had prepared me to do this, and conversations with my friend and collaborator Leland Myrick did too.
You can read my Ray Bradbury story here (it’s long), but I can summarize what Leland taught me succinctly: sometimes you have to think of comics as poetry. Efficiency and precision in your choice of inked line can produce the same effect as a poem’s concise yet expansive choice of words.
I’m not going to tell you here what I landed on for the closing scene, and last line, of this new look at E.O. Wilson’s life, but I’m proud of what we did, and grateful that Professor Wilson (he says I can call him Ed, but…) recognized that sometimes the best ending doesn’t always appear on the last page, and that inspiration often speaks softly.