San Diego Comic-Con: I had a great time at the SDCC this year. It was wonderful finally meeting my agent Judy in person, as well as Dallas, Betsy and all the other fine folks at Del Rey manga. I also got a chance to say hi to Kurt and JuYoun of Yen Press, and pick up a copy of the highly-coveted anthology Yen+. Other than that, I hung out with Svetlana, Dee, Myung, Tacto and Hope (various Wirepop and ex-TOKYOPOP people), and made some good friends.
I also got a chance to have breakfast with Dean Koontz and the Del Rey people, and got to take some photos too. Since Dean was going to his panel at SDCC later on, we all got to ride in a stretch limo and hang out in backstage where the Simpsons/Futurama people were. Which makes it the perfect time to talk about In Odd We Trust, my manga collaboration with Dean which came out in June 2008, published by Del Rey.
What is In Odd We Trust?
It’s a 180-page single-volume graphic novel, drawn by me and co-written with Dean Koontz. It is NOT an adaptation, but a prequel to Dean’s most-popular series, Odd Thomas. Six prose novels have been planned, with the fourth one, Odd Hours, having just gone on sale.
The story is about a humble psychic fry-cook by the name of Odd Thomas. He can see dead people, and takes a proactive approach by helping them into the afterlife, be it by catching their killers or just keeping them company. In Odd We Trust takes place when Odd is 19, and involves Odd trying to catch the killer of a little boy ghost. Being a single-volume manga, it’s much shorter than an average Odd Thomas novel, but is meant to be a good introduction to the world and the characters.
You can buy it online at Amazon.com, or just about any bookstore that sells Dean Koontz books.
How is the book selling?
Thanks to the Del Rey team, quite well. When it first came out in the last week of June, it was the #1 graphic novel of the week. It also hit the Publishers Weekly comics bestseller list for the month of July, which means it’s been selling well at bookstores across the U.S.
It was the only OEL manga on the list, but people seem split on how to classify it. Borders categorises it as a manga, while Barnes and Noble lists it as a graphic novel. (It is also one of Del Rey’s best online-sellers, on Amazon.com.) Either way, thanks to consolidated lists, we now know it’s selling in the Top 10.
Is a movie being planned?
Interestingly, yes. I mentioned earlier in an interview with Publishers Weekly that I didn’t think Dean was interested in movies, but it turns out I was completely wrong. Dean is actually very interested in adaptations of his work, and all along, it was just a matter of finding the right agent/s to get these projects rolling. As of now, there is nothing promised, but it seems that an Odd Thomas movie is under discussion.
How did I get this job?
I was chosen by Dallas Middaugh, the publisher of Del Rey. I knew Dallas from email exchanges, and by the time he contacted me, Dean has already seen my work and liked it (I’m assuming he read The Dreaming, though I’m not sure). I was a fan of Dean Koontz when I was in high school, so it was a nostalgia trip to be sent the first two Odd Thomas novels, though I could see it was a very different kind of story to what he is known for. Anyway, I liked the books a lot, and it all went on from there.
Why do a manga?
The aim of the book was to introduce Dean Koontz to teens and young readers – hence why manga was chosen. “Odd Thomas” was unlike Dean’s other series, in that it’s less scary/graphic/gory, and is appropriate for a younger audience.
What was it like working with Dean?
Dean was surprisingly easy to work with, and the whole collaboration process went without a hitch. Having now met him in person, I can say that Dean is a really nice guy – personable and funny.
What am I doing next?
I’m open to another Odd Thomas graphic novel, but of course that’s all up to Dean and whether he wants to do another. Since the book’s been doing quite well, anything’s possible. In the meantime, I’ve given a story called Soul Shaper to my agent Judy to pitch, and it’s a departure from my published work so far, being an action-adventure-drama-romance story. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this (please wish me luck). And as usual, there’s the usual side projects that I always have, and so on.