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I AM A BARBARIAN
Book Cover and Slipcase
I AM A BARBARIAN
Having previously been involved in the online strip adaptations of The Monster Men™ and The Outlaw of Torn™ during 2013-2014, writer Tom Simmons pitched the concept of adapting Burroughs’ historical novel I Am A Barbarian™ to ERB, Inc. President Jim Sullos in late 2015.
THE I AM A BARBARIAN Project
Artist Mike Dubisch had also recently been in touch with ERB, Inc., expressing a willingness to become involved in an online strip project – and upon consultation Simmons and Dubisch agreed to form a creative team. Graphics expert and letterer Jamal Walton, who collaborated with Simmons on previous ERB online strip projects, consented to “come on board” as letterer and graphic designer.
Episode #1 of the IAAB online strip made its debut on 8 April, 2016. Following a strict weekly production schedule, the online portion of the project was completed to numerous accolades throughout the 4 ½ year life of the project with the publication of Episode #228 on 4 December, 2020. Next up for the IAAB project was Phase Two: the “graphic reprint” phase.
Knowing Brit and Attica are not Tarzan® and Jane Clayton® or John Carter® and Dejah Thoris®, the IAAB team set out to produce a “visually stunning, instantly collectible volume with a limited print run and signed and numbered bookplate,” Simmons said. The production schedule proved to be an extended one, because the book was produced during a peak period of the Covid pandemic from June, 2021 through May, 2022.
Initial paper proofs did not meet color standards, but when the printer applied ICC coloring rules the digital pdf proofs appeared to be quite close to the digital (tif) images used for the online strip, and the print run was accomplished. The custom, gold-foil stamped slipcase was a further Simmons concept, “because we liked the look and feel of a collectible book housed in a slipcase, and a hard board slipcase is much more durable than a paper dust jacket.”
Sales of the printed IAAB book have been “steady” to date (through August, 2022) and joint marketing efforts continue between Simmons’ Cedar Run Publications and ERB, Inc. The book has been reviewed or cited in The Gridley Wave, The Anotar, The Burroughs Bulletin and The Panthans Journal, as well as by several industry critics.
“In mid-1941, with mounting personal and health issues and the world once again at war, Edgar Rice Burroughs penned I Am a Barbarian, his second and final historical novel. The story is dark and in a number of ways decidedly unlike his prior work, which made adapting it into an action/adventure strip and subsequent printed graphic novel a challenge I was happy to undertake,” says screenwriter and graphic novelist Tom Simmons.
WRITER/ADAPTER: Thomas Simmons
In addition to adapting the I Am a Barbarian and The Outlaw of Torn™ online strips, Simmons has several screenplays and graphic novels to his credit. “It was a pleasure to have collaborated with Lovecraft Award–winning artist Mike Dubisch on this effort, as well as with the talented Jamal Walton. The satisfying culmination to our five-year commitment with the online strip is this excellent graphic novel,” states the writer.
Internationally known fantasy illustrator and graphic novelist Mike Dubisch has his roots in golden age horror comics and pulp science fiction. His art has been used in toy design and illustration for Star Wars, The Wheel of Time, and Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying games, covers for Aliens vs. Predator, and graphic adaptations of The Boxcar Children and other children’s literature. His work has appeared in Science Fiction Age, Realms of Fantasy, Weird Tales, and H. P. Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror.
ARTIST/COLORIST: Mike Dubisch
“I was huge reader of Burroughs at a young age, drawn to Tarzan’s jungle adventures amongst the apes, a counterpoint to my obsession with King Kong and giant monsters. Later, John Carter’s fantastic adventures enthralled me at the same time as I discovered the great illustrators and comic artists who ended up shaping my artistic vision,” the artist says. Dubisch is an instructor at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He also creates fine art, prints, and experimental films exploring H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos.
Jamal Walton is a web and graphic designer, illustrator, colorist, and letterer currently based in Durham, North Carolina. He has worked on projects big and small: Fist of Justice, Once Upon a Time Machine, Masters of the Universe, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to name a few.
LETTERIST/DESIGNER: L. Jamal Walton
More recently, Jamal has focused more of his time working on his own comic creations: Warmageddon; Ungoodwise; and Captain Evil & Diabla. Jamal is always looking for opportunities to display his art at art exhibits and conventions, and to share his experience and skills in the craft of making comics via camps and workshops.
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