One of the tricky features of producing a graphic novel, especially one like ours which has a relatively large cast and which runs to almost 250 pages (and hopefully 500 pages when we produce Part 2!) is making sure that the reader is clear about who’s who. How awkward this can be was illustrated when we produced a hard copy of a much shorter earlier incarnation of ‘The Shadows of the King’ (and we had been aware of this as a potential issue even then). Several people reported to us that as the story developed there were times when they weren’t sure who a couple of the characters were. The main culprits were Stefano, the Southerner and Abbè de Bernis. The creators of a graphic novel, of course, never quite see their creation in the same way as their audience. Having slaved over their work for countless hours everything to them seems as clear as day and they simply have to take it on trust when they’re informed otherwise. We resolved the problem in two main ways. Firstly, and most obviously, we made the most troublesome characters more distinct (the Southerner, for example, was given an eye-patch). Secondly, we produced a Programme Notes flipbook with a cast list and images for easy reference. We also decided to begin each chapter with a portrait and monologue of one of the characters in that chapter. Our primary aim behind the portrait-monologues was to strengthen the psychological presence and voice of the characters in the minds of the audience (as well as a way of showing off Kev’s terrific portrait drawing skills!). We didn’t really do this to sort out the character-confusion problem; that was simply a welcome side-effect. Superhero comics, of course, get around the who’s who problem through the use of eye-catching costumes – not really an option for us.
‘The Prologue’, and chapters 1 and 2 of ‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ are now freely available here.
6 long form articles on Casanova’s life and times are freely available here.
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