Dark Horse, Marc Bernardin Tackling Comic Adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Anansi Boys’ (Exclusive)

Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel Anansi Boys is heading to the sequential art world of comics.

The 2005 novel, a New York Times best-seller that won the Locus and British Fantasy Awards, is being adapted by Dark Horse Comics, which has set screenwriter and comics author Marc Bernardin to pen what will be an eight-issue miniseries.

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Shawn Martinbrough, perhaps best known as the longtime artist of the Robert Kirkman title Thief of Thieves as well as Marvel’s Luke Cage Noir, is drawing the book, which will have colors by Chris Sotomayor and letters by Jim Campbell. The first issue is due to hit stores June 26.

The novel told the travails of “Fat” Charlie Nancy, who leads a boring life as a boring Londoner until he discovers two things: that his recently deceased father was, in fact, Anansi, the trickster god of African folklore, and that he has a twin brother he’s never met. The discoveries kick off a reality-spanning odyssey of sibling rivalry, jealous deities, murder and the realization by one poor soul that being a god is more trouble than it’s worth.

Bernadin and Gaiman have known each for over 20 years, meeting for the first time when the former was an editor at Entertainment Weekly and covering the comics beat. The two kept in touch over the years, and it was Gaiman who asked for the journalist turned raconteur to tackle the adaptation. It was impossible to refuse the offer from the creator of The Sandman and author of works such as American Gods, Coraline and The Graveyard Book.

But there was also another motivating factor for Bernardin.

“It’s the getting to play with African folklore in a contemporary setting. It’s getting to play with cultural specificity with a Black story that does not require the standard Black story tropes,” says the writer. “There is no pain, no tragedy. There is joy and fear but not one whiff of slavery. It’s about a man whose life is far bigger than he could have imagined and how he deals with that. And it’s funny, it’s romantic. It’s a gift to play in this world.”

Bernardin previously wrote the Eisner-nominated YA fantasy graphic novel Adora and the Distance and was a supervising producer and writer on shows such as Star Trek: Picard and Castle Rock. He is currently writing Star Wars: Mace Windu for Marvel Comics.

Anansi was previously adapted into a radio play and will soon be seen as a series. Amazon is in postproduction on a live-action adaptation starring Malachi Kirby and Delroy Lindo, with Gaiman as one of the showrunners. That version will likely debut by the end of this year. Gaiman has worked with Dark Horse on several comic translations of his works, including American Gods.

For Anansi, the first issue will have a main cover illustrated by David Mack and two variants by Martinbrough and Denys Cowan, respectively.

Check them out below.

Anansi Boys
Anansi Boys
Anansi Boys
Anansi Boys
Anansi Boys
Anansi Boys

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