Why an LOTR comic book series would be a good idea

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!

47 Comments
48 Comments
Posted by TheAcidSkull

lol, Wow, This was, amazing man O-o! job well done!

Edited by Lvenger

@theacidskull: Thanks mate, I appreciate it. Took a while for me to flesh out the necessary examples but I feel like it was worth it! :)

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

YES!!

I want to see a comic set during the War of the Jewels staring the bad ass that is Turin Turambar and I want it to be written by Brian Wood (see Northlanders and the current Conan series for details)

Edited by Lvenger

@jonny_anonymous: A War of the Jewels comic would be an awesome idea! I wasn't sure whether Wood would be the right candidate but if he's wrote those kinds of series, I can see why you'd want him. Turin is a real badass that could be written correctly with the right creative team.

Posted by Lvenger

@jonny_anonymous: Also are there any other LOTR fans on here that might be interested in this blog?

Edited by Cap10nate

I'm surprised that LOTR doesn't have an ongoing. Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time has a comic ongoing and it is very similar to LOTR in the sense that it is in a mystical realm with many different characters on a quest. They have about 14 or so novels to pull from for that ongoing.

Posted by BumpyBoo

Brilliant write up! It is kind of shocking that the idea hasn't been snapped up already O_O

Moderator
Posted by lykopis

This is a blog worthy of the front page!

What a treat to come back on the vine to find this phenomenal article waiting for me to feast on! You make an incredibly powerful and seal tight case in having LoTR brought to comic form.

I am kinda god-smacked here. I'm off to read this again. Brav-bloody-o!

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous
Posted by PrinceAragorn1

I came in to say, no thanks, we don't need it.. but the blog is a first class material.. very well written, made me consider the idea and weigh it. Good job pal!

Anyway, would a series like Game of thrones be better?

Posted by Dragonborn_CT

@lvenger: Yea Wood's Northlanders seris at Vertigo and Conan the Barbarian at Dark Horse are both superb and I think he could lit a Middle Earth book perfectly.

I think @dragonborn_ct would get a kick out of this blog

Damn right I would :D

This is a amazing idea and I agree with all your points. I would specially want to see "Of Beren and Luthien" adapted into a comic, that was my favorite story in the Sillmarillion. Unfortunately, like you said at the end, I don't see any of this coming to fruition due to the very tight ownership of the LOTR's rights his son has :\

This was a awesome blog, bro!! Keep it up!

Posted by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

Awesome blog you seem to be a fan of LOTR that's an amazing franchise I'm surprised it didn't already have a comic....You know who the writer should be....Scott Lobdell.....MUAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Posted by Lvenger

@cap10nate: Really? I've known other franchises such as Starship Troopers get comic books of their own and their fame is nothing compared to LOTR

@bumpyboo I know right? But I guess the tight ownership Tolkien's family has to the books must override the possibility.

@lykopis I doubt it's that good but aw, you honour me with your kind recommendation. I'm glad this little blog was a worthwhile read for you Lyko! Where've you been?

@princearagorn1 I appreciate that you saw my blog as a counterbalance to the view that there doesn't need to be an LOTR series. But with your user name, I thought you might like that idea :P

@dragonborn_ct Thanks mate, glad we share a common desire to see "Of Beren and Luthien" adapted into a comic book story! Unfortunately, this is somewhat unlikely to happen which is a shame. Thanks for the compliments!

Posted by Lvenger
Posted by BumpyBoo

@lvenger: It's a shame really, I can understand them being protective of his legacy. But at the same time, I think a decent comic book, done right, could accentuate his body of work rather than spoil or exploit it. Perhaps it is a matter of the right person approaching them with a strong enough concept? They must get so many requests to use the stories and characters.

Moderator
Posted by Lvenger

@bumpyboo: I'd imagine so but the Tolkien family have been said to not be wholly pleased with the Lord of The Rings film adaption of JRR Tolkien's work. Even a really strong pitch for an LOTR comic book series might not change their minds.

Edited by BumpyBoo

@lvenger: Ah, well in that case, I can't really blame them. It would be a big risk for them to take if they have already been disappointed once. Still, we can dream. They can't take that away from us! ;P

Moderator
Posted by Lvenger

@bumpyboo: Nope they certainly can't! And there are more ideas I haven't even gone into yet on here or thought about :)

Posted by BumpyBoo

@lvenger: The possibilities are almost endless, and some of the ideas you already proposed were just...spot on, really, the kind of thing any fan would want to see. I say they give you the job! ^_^

Moderator
Posted by RustyRoy

Awesome article. I always wanted to read a comic book series based on LoTR Universe, its sad that we haven't already got one. I think Vertigo would be a nice place for a LoTR book.

Posted by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

@lvenger: LMFAO :'), I think that would be everyone's reaction. No problem.

Posted by Lvenger

@bumpyboo: Me? I can't write to save my life. And don't get me started on my artistic skills :P

@rustyroy Vertigo eh? I always thought Dark Horse might do justice to Lord of The Rings. Or Dynamic Entertainment. Thanks for the compliment! :)

Posted by BumpyBoo

@lvenger: I am sure you are just being modest hehe :) if not, you could always be a shadowy, brains behind the scenes type ;)

Moderator
Posted by Lvenger

@bumpyboo: Now that I like the sound of. An editor who actually knows what he's talking about and not one to mess things up with the creators and characters ;)

Edited by BumpyBoo

@lvenger: Exactly! Someone like that could help to maintain the original vision :)

Moderator
Posted by Lvenger

@bumpyboo: If only more editors like that were working in comics today.

Posted by BumpyBoo

@lvenger: Very true, sadly. Lately there seems to be a lot of ego, a lot of creators decimating character's personalities and histories, projecting their own visions onto them to the detriment of the books they are working on. I have no problem with any creator adding their own take but I think a lot of the time it goes too far. What we need is an editor who will say "Yeah...that's a cute idea, but it doesn't ring true for (insert character name). Maybe that can be in your story."

Moderator
Edited by lykopis

@lvenger:

I forbid modesty here. This blog is top-notch, sir!

Getting ready for last year of school -- plus moving in a week to a new place. Lots of excitement but not enough to keep me from the Vine for too long. :)

Posted by Lvenger

@lykopis: I'm getting ready for my first year of university myself. I should still have time for the Vine in my uni years though.

Posted by Katrin_Romanoff_004

OMG, love this idea!

Edited by Arkhamc1tizen

Like the idea.

Edited by Lvenger
Posted by Kangaxx_54

I'd love to see graphic novels of all the stories in the Silmarillion. There are so many great possibilities. It's just too bad that there isn't a snowball's chance in hell that Christopher Tolkien will ever loosen his hold on the Silmarillion, and his successor is sure to be every bit as protective. There's a chance that the stories from the LoTR appendixes could be adapted. The Lord of the Rings Online is built upon LoTR (obviously) and the appendixes, and they can add to and make their own stories (though it have to be controlled by whoever holds the license - not sure if it's the Tolkien Estate). I'd like to see something of the same done in comics form.

Edited by Lvenger

@kangaxx_54: Thanks for your thoughts and I totally agree with your sentiments.

Posted by i_like_swords

@lvenger: I've thought about LOTR comics before but never in this detail. I knew there was a lot of lore not shown in the movies/books but you really enlightened me as to how much. I'd definitely buy a LOTR comic series, especially Legolas comics :p

Maybe if we spam Tolkien/Peter Jackson/whoever enough they'll listen to us!

Edited by Lvenger

@i_like_swords: Thank you, it's a pleasure to do so. I'd recommend reading The Silmarillion at some point as that has loads of untold LOTR stories in it. It really deepens the history and backstory of Middle Earth. Though comic books about LOTR would be even better for certain.

Posted by Baberaham_Lincoln

@lvenger: I LOVE THIS DUDE!!! Seeing Middle Earth in graphic novel type once a year (like earth one series for DC) would be good as well, but i'd definitely be down for an ongoing. Especially if it's set around the second to third age. Would love to see stories about fingolfin and feanor. Imagine seeing a fingolfin vs Morgoth by someone like Esad Ribic.... =O.... Dragons like Ancalagon, The Balrog of Morgoth Gothmog... all these amazing characters.

Yeah, i'm gonna go imagine now.

Posted by Lvenger

@baberaham_lincoln: Yeah I've been imagining too since it's unlikely Christopher Tolkien's gonna let go of the rights to LOTR any time soon :/

Posted by Deranged Midget

@lvenger: You know what? It seems that you've both rose my spirits and bummed me out all at the same time :P I would LOVE nothing more than an extended universe for the Tolkien universe. As you mentioned, the possibilities are endless expanding from the first and second age prior the the events of LOTR all the way to the third age and beyond where it's all uncharted territory.

A little off-topic but if you fancy some more LOTR stuff, check out the MMO. I'm pretty sure it's free at this point! If you're more into standalone RPG's, check out War in the North. It seems like your basic hack and slash but the RPG elements are deep with excellent action-oriented controls. Play a lot like KOA.

Moderator
Posted by Lvenger

@deranged_midget: Well thank you for the compliment my good friend and apologies about bumming you out :P It would be an awesome opportunity if there was a chance for a proper take on Tolkien's expanded world from The Silmarillion and the LOTR appendixes. I was initially hesitant about a comic exploring the post Return of teh King world but a lot of Star Wars comics do that and they're worthy additions to the lore and world of the films.

I'm not too keen on MMOs unfortunately but War in the North sounds interesting if it has KOA like mechanics. It got decent reviews from what I hear.

And regarding your friend's comments on The Hobbit, my mum went to see it with me and my dad and felt it had way too much action than in the original book. It was one of her childhood favourites and whilst I appreciate the Jackson esque approach to the action, I get where she's coming from. The Hobbit is an adventure book, a much more lighthearted adventure tale and wasn't stocked up on action. Jackson seems to be doing that in the next two films which is a shame for Tolkien purists but is something I'm still interested in.

Posted by Deranged Midget

@lvenger: Yeah, everyone has differing opinions on how Jackson handled the source material and how he adapted it but I thought he did a brilliant job despite being a fan of the novels as well. And yes, you must check out War in the North! It even has co-op so we could jump in together if you'd like! :D

All this Tolkien talk has me itching to re watch the Hobbit :P

Moderator
Edited by Lvenger

Ignore the last reply @deranged_midget it was meant for the Dragon Ball Z thing. Apologies for that :P And I totally agree with you on that one mate!

Posted by TheAmazingBoosterGold

A few years from now, there will be a LOTR comic book - but it will bomb.

Posted by Liberty

You don't have to convince me. It is a great idea. New stories from the same universe or woven stories fro the Hobbit and LOTR trilogy would be the best.

Posted by green_skaar

@liberty said:

You don't have to convince me. It is a great idea.

Edited by Lvenger

A few years from now, there will be a LOTR comic book - but it will bomb.

Where have you heard this? Is there an actual source you have for this claim?

Posted by TheAmazingBoosterGold

@lvenger said:

@theamazingboostergold said:

A few years from now, there will be a LOTR comic book - but it will bomb.

Where have you heard this? Is there an actual source you have for this claim?

Meh, I was joking.