Mercy Thompson’s (Graphic Novel) Homecoming

 

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Front jacket painting by Dan Dos Santos.

When I was a kid, my father used to take my older sister and me to “the green striped store” once a week and give us each a dollar to buy comic books. I can remember getting to buy five each (which should date me!). Oddly enough I don’t remember the ones I used to buy, probably because I read them to shreds and they ended up, after a suitably long time under my bed, in the garbage. But I remember the ones my sister had. She was OCD about keeping them looking new, organizing them, and keeping them away from me. She had more success in the first two tasks than she had in the last.
Even battered and torn, her comic collection is worth a pretty penny — but if I hadn’t been her little sister, she’d probably be independently wealthy by now. So all those people she’s helped keep healthy (she’s a doctor) owe me one.
She had the X-Men before they were cool and all of the issues where the old X-Men were captured and Prof. X had to bring in the new ones — you know, like Wolverine and the Banshee. She had The Amazing Spiderman, Sheena Queen of the Jungle, The Claws of the Cat, and a dozen others. Most importantly for you and me, she collected a comic called Werewolf by Night.
And that’s where I came by my love of werewolves; that’s why I write about them.
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A pack of werewolves on the prowl in Mercy Thompson: Homecoming. (painting by Francis Tsai)


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Concept art for Zee by Francis Tsai

Fast forward a lot of years to when the Dabel Brothers contacted me in the hopes of taking Mercy to the world of comics and graphic novels. I squealed . . . er . . . agreed, but I’m not stupid. I know how to work stories with words until I’m happy with them. I had no idea how to turn a story into a comic that worked. That’s where David Lawrence came in.

“Send me a story,” he said, “and I’ll turn it into a comic.”

And so I did — and he kept his word. Writers are, all of us, control freaks. Why else do you think we write books where we get to make the rules? It doesn’t matter whether we are writing books, short stories, or comics — we are control freaks. David is a gifted writer, no doubt about that — but he is also amazingly patient with my fussing and fiddling with his words. He also serves as a mediator between the artists and me (and my incredible team of fact-checking forum folks).
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Painting of Mercy Thompson by Francis Tsai.

The first story I sent in is this one, the one due out this week, Homecoming. Homecoming had its origin in the birthing pangs of Iron Kissed. I needed to know more about Mercy and her mentor, Zee, before I could write the book. So I typed out a hundred pages about how they first met — then set it aside. It told me what I needed to know, but it wasn’t part of Iron Kissed. It didn’t have a plot, so it couldn’t be a short story either. So I set it aside until the Dabels asked me for a short story to begin their foray into Mercy’s world. The plot I took from another bit of earlier world-building — why Adam’s pack of werewolves had moved into the Tri-Cities. I shook the plot and the odd bits of writing together, then handed them to David, who pushed everything around until it made sense. Then he put them a script into the talented hands of the artists Francis Tsai and Amelia Woo — and magic was made. I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed the process of seeing my werewolves return to the primordial ooze from whence they sprang all those years ago.

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Patricia Briggs is a #1 New York Times bestselling author who has written more than a dozen novels, including the first three books in her hit series about Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson, a VW mechanic who also happens to be a shapeshifter in touch with the strange, unseen world of vampires, werewolves, ancient fae, and other mystical creatures. Briggs lives in Washington.