Deakin University

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Adapting Australia’s First Literary Blockbuster, The Mystery of a Hansom Cab, as a Graphic Novel: A Case Study in Virtual Collaboration

conference contribution
posted on 2023-09-14, 06:32 authored by Luke Conrad JacksonLuke Conrad Jackson
I am the author of two published graphic novels, with two more currently in development. Based upon this experience, I know that, for a writer who does not draw, creating comics is a necessarily collaborative process. In developeding the script for The Mystery of a Hansom Cab: a Graphic Novel Adaptation (due to be published by Magnetic Force LLC in 2024), I provided U.S.-based illustrator Jake Girard with written documentation and visual references that allowed him to understand how I wanted to stage each scene, including how I wanted him to depict the characters and the spaces and places in which they appear. Our communications throughout this process were limited to mostly asynchronous online conversations. Following an almost two-year collaboration, I had a colleague interview Jake about his experience of working on the project, including the positives and negatives of engaging in this sort of online artistic collaboration. With ethics clearance provided by Deakin University, I used NVivo to analyse this semi-structured interview, as well as Jake’s and my communication logs, to better understand the nuances of our collaborative process. In this presentation, I will examine my findings, and consider their implications for artistic collaborators, particularly those who plan to work largely online. To demonstrate Jake’s and my collaborative process in action, I will trace how a single page of the graphic novel evolved from my initial written instructions, through our discussions and drafts, to become something that represented our shared artistic vision.



Adelaide University

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Title of proceedings

Remediating and adapting across media


Graphic Horizons: The Future of Comics in an Intermedial World


The University of South Australia’s Creative People, Places and Products Research Centre (CP3), in collaboration with the University of Adelaide’s JM Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice

Place of publication

Adelaide, Australia

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