Mark Millar To Adapt ‘Finnegans Wake’ Into Comics
Although “Finnegans Wake,” the final work of legendary author James Joyce, is considered by many scholars to be to the Irish writer’s greatest masterpiece, the book has managed to fly under the radar of the public at large for decades. That’s all about to change, however, with the news that Mark Millar has been granted the rights to adapt the acclaimed novel into a comic that the “Kick-Ass” writer has described as “”Mulholland Drive’ meets ‘Hard Boiled’ on acid.”
The comic adaptation will follow HCE, a beleaguered everyman who has been falsely accused of a terrible crime, as he battles his way through one bloody, terrible night in Dublin in order to clear his name and save his family — and his wife, a beautiful bombshell named Anna — from the dark forces that threaten to tear their world apart.
“This is the most controversial work of one of the greatest writers in the English language, just 628 pages of mind-twisting insanity. It’s crazy, crazy stuff to begin with, and I think readers are going to be absolutely blown away when they see what I have in store,” said Millar. “Nobody’s ever tried to do anything like this in the history of comics, and it’s an enormous challenge, but one that is going to pay off spectacularly.”
While the Joyce estate has been notoriously protective of the author’s works over the years, Millar says they approached him to adapt the novel for comics after reading his script for the as-yet-unreleased “Nemesis” #2. “I’m absolutely honored that they’ve chosen me to help bring ‘Finnegans Wake’ into the 21st century, and I can’t wait to make Joyce’s vision explode onto the comic book page.”The comic will take a more linear approach than the famously challenging novel, boiling the complex narrative down to its most essential elements and trading its polyglot linguistic innovations for a visual duality that Millar says is more attuned to the comics medium. “There’s a lot of dream logic and even ‘dreamspeak’ in the novel, and you’re going to see certain elements of that in the comic as well,” said Millar. “As HCE’s world begins to crumble and he slowly descends into madness, suddenly it isn’t always clear what’s real and what isn’t. When he begins his bloody quest for justice and revenge by blowing away the cad in Phoenix Park with an AK-47, is that really happening — or is he dreaming? That’s one of the mysteries that readers will have to unravel.”
Millar has already considered the possibility of a film adaptation as well, citing Nicolas Cage as an ideal candidate for HCE and saying that several studios “have expressed interest” in the idea of transforming “Finnegans Wake” into a big-budget action flick. Regardless of its future film prospects, however, Millar says his primary focus is on the comic, which is tentatively slated to hit shelves in the spring of 2011.
“It’s going to make ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ look like shit,” added Millar.