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Robert Heinlein graphic novel project seeks funding

by Matthew Price Modified: April 22, 2013 at 4:56 pm •  Published: March 22, 2013

An award-winning Oklahoma artist is set to draw a project by a science fiction master.

Steve Erwin, artist of DC Comics including “Deathstroke the Terminator,” is attached to the project “Citizen of the Galaxy,” which would be a graphic novel adaptation of the Robert Heinlein book. A Kickstarter campaign is currently under way for the graphic novel.

Erwin, who was born in Tulsa, was inducted into the Oklahoma Cartoonist Hall of Fame in 2007.

The project seeks to raise $26,400 via Kickstarter. “Citizen of the Galaxy,” the story to be adapted, was one of Heinlein’s last stories he wrote for teens. The story originally appeared in 1957 as a four-part series in Astounding Science Fiction magazine. Eric Gignac is spearheading the project.

The story is about a young boy named Thorby who was captured at an early age, Gignac said in an email interview.

Steve Erwin art from "Star Trek: Ashes of Eden." DC Comics/Paramount
Steve Erwin art from "Star Trek: Ashes of Eden." DC Comics/Paramount

The story follows Thorby as a slave on the planet Jubbal who becomes a free trader aboard a starship, then a soldier in the galactic guard before making his way home to Earth.

Gignac met with Erwin at the recent Dallas All-Con Science Fiction Convention, where they discussed the project.

“During All-Con my son, age 13, and I had dinner with Steve and his son, also 13, and we discussed in great detail the entire story of ‘COTG,’” Gignac said. “Everything from the setting of the planet ‘Jubbal’ to the look and dress of the ‘Free Traders’ and we even discussed which eye the beggar Baslim was missing.”

Erwin has a history with science fiction projects, including adapting William Shatner’s “Star Trek: Ashes of Eden.”

“After reviewing Steve Erwin’s artistry on the graphic novel adaptation of ‘Star Trek: Ashes of Eden’ written by William Shatner and his work on the graphic novel movie adaptation of ‘Batman Returns,’ my vision of ‘Citizen of the Galaxy’ suddenly became clearer,” Gignac said.

Gignac hopes the adaptation he and Erwin want to create will help reintroduce the works of Heinlein to a new generation of fans.

“Heinlein’s influence is out there and felt in everything from ‘Star Wars’ to ‘Star Trek’,” Gignac said. “For example in ‘Citizen of the Galaxy,’ in the middle of the book, the two spaceships Thorby is interested in visiting are called, ‘Serenity’ and ‘Firefly’. This makes me thinks that Joss Whedon may be a Heinlein fan.”

- By MATTHEW PRICE
WORD BALLOONS
From Friday’s The Oklahoman

by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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