By Lvenger 47 Comments
That's Lord of The Rings by the way in case there's an unlikely user who doesn't know what I'm on about. I doubt I’m the first to ask this question or make a blog on it but there’s a gap on here as far as I can see so I’m gonna write this blog about it. I’m sure most of you will have seen the Lord of the Rings films or read the books and enjoyed them as much as I have. But recently, I was thinking about why a Lord of the Rings comic book series would be a brilliant idea to continue the mythology and history of the franchise by expanding upon the rich history Tolkien created in his book along with unanswered questions about some of the main characters and the lore that can be mined from Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. The sad thing is that it doesn’t seem likely that such a tantalising idea would be coming into fruition any time soon. But all the same, this is a comic book site and speculation over everything whether it’s happening or not is the name of the game after all.
A goldmine of LOTR stories ripe for comic book story telling
When one considers the range of stories that can be told in a comic book extension of the Lord of the Rings, it is amazing at the depth and range of stories that can be told. Allow me to start with the most obvious way to tell a LOTR comic book story. Whilst new material might be harder to deal with at first, a good place to start would be expanding upon Tolkien’s original material. Let me provide you with an example. In The Return of the King, there is an appendix that deals with Aragorn and Arwen’s relationship, both in how they met under the White Birches of the House of Elrond to Aragorn’s last days in Minas Tirith. This appendix gives an enticing tease of Aragorn’s earlier life from living in the House of Elrond under the name Estel (which is Elvish for Hope), his relationship with Elrond and Arwen, his childhood and teenage years. In particular, the most interesting and comic book story worthy part in the Appendix is what Aragorn gets up to for 30 years after leaving the House of Elrond aged 19. To summarise, he fights against the forces of Sauron, meets Gandalf and travels with him, rode in the Rohirrim and fought for the Lord of Gondor on sea and land before disappearing into the south and then coming to Lothlorien. Tolkien describes him as “the most hardy of living men, skilled in their crafts and lore, and was yet more than they” due to his time spent amongst Elves in the House of Lords. Also, he becomes “somewhat grim to look upon, unless he chanced to smile.” Now tell me if this isn’t the makings for a good comic book series under a good writer who understands the lore and is capable of crafting a compelling story with an epic plot and interesting characters that Aragorn comes across in his travels. Evidently, I’ve focused on Aragorn as a main character as he’s my favourite LOTR character and there’s a blueprint for his stories in The Return of The King’s appendix. But how cool would it be to see some of Legolas’ adventures in the forests of Mirkwood with his Elven kin pulling off badass archery feats? Or Gimli’s time in the mines with Gloin, one of the original 12 Dwarves that travelled with Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit? Or Boromir’s tenure as a Captain of Gondor defending Osgoliath from the hordes of Mordor on a daily basis? Such prospects would be worthy of publish under the right creative team and direction. Even if the blueprints are not contained within the original source material, it must be worth expanding on things such as what Gandalf got up to in his early days on Middle Earth.
Surely a comic book about any of these characters would be an interesting creative opportunity and draw in LOTR fans and sales?)
The first paragraph has been about the main characters of The Lord of The Rings but there are supporting characters whose past and adventures could be equally explored as well. For example, the characters from Rohan played a big role in The Two Towers and The Return of The King so it would be interesting for a comic book series to explore a more earlier time in Rohan’s history. With an eclectic cast of characters such as Theoden, Eowyn and Eomer along with supporting characters such as Theodred and eventually Grima Wormtongue that could appear later on to tie in with Saruman’s possession of Theoden, this could be a interesting avenue to explore for die hard LOTR fans. There’s a lot of backstory to Eomer and Eowyn as they come from another family and were taken in by Theoden after their parents’ death. For Eomer, a good writer can explore his time in the Rohirrim and his adventures defending Rohan from stray orcs and servants of Sauron. Eowyn’s desire to prove herself as worthy a warrior as any man yet denied the chance to test her combat skills would make for some great angst in a story. And Theoden could be portrayed as a wearying king slowly being taken over under the thrall of Saruman and Grima. There, several interesting plot points that could be explored in a comic book about the well known characters in Rohan along with fleshed out sub plots. Or what about a series about LOTR fan favourite character Gollum? Gollum’s dual personalities along with his sad obsession with the One Ring have created some sympathy for the character. And there could be plenty of uses of his signature lines such as “My Precious.” His origin is pretty clear but there’s an unexplored gap in LOTR history between The Hobbit and his appearance in the Fellowship of The Ring. It’s mentioned that he ventured out of the Misty Mountains to search for the ring but when he lost the trail, ventured into Mordor to look for it. The books make mention of both Aragorn and Legolas coming across Gollum and it would be interesting to see why there’s an animosity between Gollum and the Elves along with him interacting with the rest of the LOTR universe and delving deeper into his character. Furthermore, seeing more details on how Gollum was tortured along with him apparently seeing Sauron and forming an alliance with Shelob would make for some very interesting stories
Yesss, we wantsss a comic book of our own My Precioussss! Gollum, Gollum!
Of course, creating new material for the LOTR universe might initially be tricky. Fortunately, there is a goldmine of stories ripe for being told in comic book format in the form of The Silmarillion. As I mentioned before, this is Tolkien’s other LOTR novel published 4 years after his death that covers the length and bredth of the history of the Lord of The Rings universe. From Illuvatar creating the world from a Great Music to the defeat of Sauron, this novel includes many stories set in the past of Middle Earth and contain a deep history of Middle Earth. I’ll only pick a few examples to focus on though and this first one is an unconvential one that would be hard pressed to be published even if there ever was an LOTR comic book series. The earlier days of Middle Earth tell of mighty encounters between the spirits/gods of Middle Earth, The Valar which are the higher order of gods second only to Illuvatar and the Maiar, of the same order as The Valar but slightly lower down in the pecking order. In any case, the early days of Middle Earth weren’t the most pleasant as Melkor, formerly of the Valar and the original villain of Middle Earth was often stirring the pot and trying to take Middle Earth for himself. He had a stock of servants under him. From perverted Elves made into Orcs to corrupting Maiar into Balrogs, creating dragons and having the LOTR bad guy Sauron serve under him, Melkor’s been the bigger threat to Middle Earth for centuries, if not ages. Now, where I’m going with this train of thought is this: What about a series exploring the Valar, The Maiar, the early days of Middle Earth and the conflicts instigated by Melkor against Middle Earth? Yeah it’s incredibly unlikely given the flowery language in The Silmarillion but would a Sandman style book by an author like Neil Gaiman work well here? Gaiman uses abstracts such as Death and Dream as characters in his Sandman title and a writer who can make characters out of Valar like Manwe or Melkor could have the makings of an unusually interesting book. But I’ve picked this because it’s highly unlikely to be adapted into a comic book story even if there ever was an LOTR comic book series
Would a Sandman style approach work for the Valar and gods of Middle Earth?
Finally, another story from The Silmarillion which would actually work quite well in a comic book is the chapter “Of Beren and Luthien.” It spans pages 162-188 and would fit a lot of criteria for a unique comic book. The main two characters are Beren, a shape shifting human who can turn himself into animals and Luthien, a beautiful Elvish maiden who risked everything for the love of Beren. So what we have here is the classic starcrossed lovers story a la Lord of The Rings style. Beren gets set the task of bringing the Elvish King, the father of Luthien, one of the Silmarials, a crystal from Melkor/Morgoth’s crown. Beren and Luthien are aided by an Elf called Finrod who is repaying a debt as one of Beren’s forefathers saved his life and a badass Wolfhound called Huan. Now those of you who are into Game of Thrones probably love the loyal and protective Direwolves that the children of Lord Stark own. Well, those wolves have nothing on the awesome Wolfhound Huan. He’s as big as a horse, is blessed with special powers by the Valar, takes a great fondness to Beren and Luthien and can speak three times. He even manages to beat Sauron when Sauron fights him as a great werewolf. Anything that can take Sauron down a peg definitely deserves respect. It takes a werewolf called Carcharoth reared by Morgoth himself to kill him in the end. So, in my opinion, this story from The Silmarillion has almost everything. Romance, adventure, great stakes, perilous times, evil foes, tragedy, death and a happy ending as the lovers get to be together in the end. It’s tales like these that mean it could be played out very well indeed in the comic book format.
When the Direwolves from Game of Thrones subdue Dark Lords like Huan does to Sauron, let me know.
At the end of the day, these wild ideas of mine won’t come to fruition. Probably due to the Tolkiens’ ownership over the rights to The Lord of The Rings universe and perhaps because no one sees the merit in a comic book LOTR series or wishes to go there. But look at the Expanded Star Wars universe for a candidate of how comic books are capable of enriching the lore and stories of another fictional property. Star Wars fans appreciate the EU for everything it’s expanded to the universe they love dearly and a LOTR EU comic book universe could have just the same effect. I’d buy the hell out of an Aragorn comic to be certain! So if you’ve read this far, thanks for enduring my humble rant on an LOTR comic book series. Feel free to share your thoughts on my blog and on an LOTR series yourselves!