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Hannibal comes to Web comic

by Matthew Price Modified: April 22, 2013 at 4:01 pm •  Published: October 10, 2008

Most have heard the story of the Carthaginian general Hannibal leading elephants across the Alps to face the Romans. Writer Brendan McGinley wants you to see it.

“There’s already plenty of good prose about Hannibal, (but) no good visual medium for a story that crackles with so many unforgettable images, like elephants on the Alps or Mago Barca spilling dead Romans’ rings on the Senate floor,” McGinley said. “Maybe Vin Diesel’s long-stalled film will change that; Victor Mature’s sure didn’t.”

McGinley and artist Mauro Vargas, along with colorist Andres Carranza, bring the Hannibal story to life – with some humorous asides – on the Shadowline Web comics page, “Hannibal Goes to Rome” re-enacts the second Punic War in comic-book style.

Vargas “really defines and expresses his characters; you need that where history meets comedy,” McGinley said.

McGinley said the trickiest part of creating “Hannibal Goes to Rome” is sorting which Carthaginian did what.

“There are so many Hannos, Hannibals, Hasdrubals and Giscos!” he said.

McGinley is meshing historical accounts to create the tale, which he then passes on to Vargas to draw.

“The historians and artist make it easy for me; all I have to do is throw a little observational humor into the mouths of the poor schlubs caught up in events,” he said.

“Hannibal Goes to Rome” was first a candidate on DC Comics’ Zuda site ( Zuda is a site created by DC Comics to seek fresh talent via an online Web comics competition each month. After competing on Zuda, McGinley hooked up with Shadowline’s Jim Valentino, who was looking to launch a Web comics component for Shadowline.

While he’s not altering the linear history, McGinley does look for story threads that connect points in the campaign. As the third chapter begins, Hannibal’s elephants are refusing to ford a river.

Meanwhile, Scipio the elder is coming for Hannibal. But rather than rest up and wait to take on the Romans with a fresh army, he decides instead to continue on through the Alpine passes. McGinley said the story asks, “Why don’t you want to do what’s good for you here?”

“The elephants dug in their heels; Hannibal picked up his,” McGinley said. “Both denied somebody who was trying to force them to do something they were apprehensive of doing. So in a sense, we end with an unstoppable force ready to cross a natural boundary, inverting our immovable objects who refused to. There’s my pretentious trick, and hopefully I can keep up the ruse till 201 B.C.”

– Matthew Price

From Friday’s The Oklahoman 

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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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