We're all incredibly excited about Bryan Fuller's TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods coming next year. We're also excited about the American Gods comic book adaptation also coming in 2017, which Dark Horse announced yesterday — but we're also kind of confused. Image: Cover of first issue by Glenn Fabry and Adam Brown (Dark Horse), full cover image below
Here's what we know abut comic version: It will be 27 issues long, written by Craig Russell and illustrated by Scott Hampton. Those issues will be divided into three arcs, each presumably nine issues long, called Shadows, My Ainsel and The Moment of the Storm. The first issue — starting exactly where the book does, with Shadow Moon's release from gaol — is due to come out on 15 March 2017.
It's the timing here that perplexes us. First of all, you'd think that there'd already be a comic book version of American Gods, given Gaiman's ties to the industry. Gaiman's statement says, "There's a tremendous amount of excitement, in my house and in the world, about the American Gods TV series coming up on Starz. What we've managed to keep a secret until now is that there is something just as exciting out there: American Gods, the comic." Why it's been kept a secret during all the press that the story's been getting because of the show, I have no idea.
Second, doing a comic book right around the same time as the show is doubly weird since we know that, as everyone involved has talked about, the show is going to expand a lot of the story of the novel. The comic, taking a book that spans hundreds of pages and turning it into 27 issues, is definitely going to have to streamline the story a bit. It'd be like if Gaiman released a Cliff Notes version of American Gods at the same time as the novel. Sure, some people may prefer the abridged version, but shouldn't you want everyone to focus on the main edition?
In any case, Gaiman's happy with both. He's talked about how excited he is about the show many times and now he says he's "grinning to myself with delight, because the American Gods comic is going to be an astonishing, faithful, and beautiful adaptation".