Two Guernsey islanders have created a comic book adaption of Victor Hugo’s ‘The Toilers of the Sea’.
Cartoonist Adam Gillson, and writer Nathanial Eker-Male collaborated on the novel, and worked on it over the past year.
Funding for getting the book printed and other administrative costs were provided by Guernsey Arts and the Victor Hugo in Guernsey Society. The adaptation is titled “The Toil” and it focuses only on the middle section of Hugo’s epic novel. It is one of very few comic book adaptations of “The Toilers of the Sea” and the only to come out of Guernsey, the island where the novel was written and is set.
The novel focuses on Gilliatt, a Guernsey man who sails out to the deadly Douvres rocks to dislodge the precious engine of The Durande, a wrecked ship. He does this for Mess Lethierry, an old sailor whose niece, Deruchette, he wishes to marry.
Nathanial said: “We took some liberties with the source material and focused only on the mid-section, which is where all the action is. We figured this segment best lends itself to the art of comic book storytelling.
“Our adaptation doesn’t feature much dialogue. It’s actually based on a film script I wrote during my degree. I approached Guernsey Arts to see if it could be made into a short film, they put me in touch with Adam, and the rest is history”.
Adam said: “We are immensely grateful for the support of Guernsey Arts and the Victor Hugo in Guernsey Society, both of whom have made this passion project possible.
“We’re really excited to bring Hugo’s story to a new generation, and hope that our comic book will attract younger kids to Hugo’s work. It can be pretty tough to read so we wanted our comic to be an entry point into his fantastic bibliography”.
Head of Arts Development at Guernsey Arts Russ Fossey said: “Fostering local talent is at the heart of what we do at Guernsey Arts. We’re delighted to fund a project that is so intrinsically tied to Guernsey’s history and literary culture. The guys have produced a great, modern interpretation of Hugo’s work, and we can’t wait to see what they do with their book next”.
Victor Hugo in Guernsey Society Chair Dinah Bott said: “Adam and Nathanial have created a version of Hugo’s work that is altogether their own. We are pleased to support any endeavour that brings the author’s work to a new audience, and transposing it into this new, exciting medium is a great way to do just that”.
The book will be launched at an event in March and will be available to purchase later in 2022.