In 1987 Team Yankee, a novel by Harold Coyle set in the world of Sir John Hackett’s The Third World War of 1985, became successful in hardcover. Berkley Books bought the paperback rights and teamed with First Comics to bring out a graphic novel to support the paperback release.
Beth Fleisher, my editor at Berkley, is married to top comics figure Chris Claremont. She suggested that I adapt the book into a graphic novel because I had served with an armored cavalry regiment in Viet Nam. I tend to avoid new things, but I consciously forced myself to try this one.
I’m glad I did. The process made me think about story in different fashions, always a good thing, and I gained detailed knowledge of (and therefore even greater respect for) what a graphic artist does. I liked the people I was working with.
The problem for me was that I couldn’t just do my job and go away. After I’d scripted each section (there were six), I had to wait for the art to come back, page by page, for me to add the dialogue to the individual boxes. I prefer to work on one thing at a time, so I found it very difficult to write anything of my own while the lengthy process was going on.
I think I did a good job. I know I could do better if I tried again, but I have no desire to do so.
Perhaps the most important lesson I learned from the process is that I’m not comfortable in jobs which require me to work as part of a team. If I’d needed another reason not to think of writing for Hollywood, I had one.