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The Smiths Are Getting Their Own Graphic Novel

The cover of 'Tales of the Smiths: A Graphic Biography'. Image courtesy of Omnibus Press / Con Chrisoulis

The Smiths are getting their own graphic novel. Called Tales of the Smiths: A Graphic Biography it’s written by Con Chrisoulis and is being released on 22 March 2018 by Omnibus Press. And it looks like it’s going to be quite an epic read, being 494 pages long. It will also feature an introduction by former drummer with The Smiths (and The Fall) Simon Wolstencroft.

The comic will detail the band from their teens before The Smiths found fame and follow them as they grow up. It will end on the moment when Morrissey and Johnny Marr met, forming the band in 1982 and played their first ever gig as The Smiths.

The iconic image of The Smiths outside Salford Lads' Club that sits on inner sleeve of their classic album 'The Queen is Dead'. © Stephen Wright

Along the way it takes a few diversions to look at the group’s musical influences, which include the Sex Pistols, the New York Dolls and New York punk, Nico, Patti Smith and more. Chrisoulis has said he wanted to concentrate on how the mid to late 1970s—with David Bowie, the gender-bending of glam rock and the arrival of punk—impacted Morrissey (he was a huge New York Dolls fan), and begat the New Wave.

It seems the graphic novel has been many years in the making, too. Way back in 2012 was when Chrisoulis began working on a daily comic strip looking at origins of The Smiths and its band members.

Panels from The Smiths graphic novel 'Tales of the Smiths: A Graphic Biography'. Screenshot via YouTube / Omnibus Press

At the time, in 2012, Chrisoulis posted in a Morrissey fan forum, stating:

“I've planned out a few months of daily comic strips focusing on the (really) early days of the members of The Smiths.” he notes, continuing, “I’ll finish the 1959-1981 period and should it prove successful, I'll consider continuing it. In all honesty, I think that 'The Smiths 1982-1987 period' itself has been covered so much and so often (MOJO just ran -yet another- feature) that it's the roots of the band that remain truly interesting, mystifying and unexplored. The relationships, the pre-Smiths bands, the puzzle of who, what, when! By visualizing that period for the first time for the fans, and the newer generation, I'm kinda hoping to achieve what Backbeat and Nowhere Boy did for the legacy of The Beatles. Bringing forth, in a visual narrative, the complexity of the human that led to The Beatle/The Smith stereotype that we're all acquainted with.”

Johnny Marr and Morrissey of The Smiths photographed after they had just sign to Rough Trade Records in 1983. © Clare Muller

Then, weirdly, he says he got a deal with a Greek chocolate company where the strip was serialised. During that, Omnibus Press picked it up and set about releasing it in a single graphic novel. And now it’s ready, as Chrisoulis recently showed off his early copy of Tales of the Smiths: A Graphic Biography on his Instagram. You can preorder a copy here.

It seems that making graphic novel biographies charting the rise of much-loved musicians has become a genre of its own. Nick Cave was immortalised in comic book form last year in Nick Cave: Mercy On Me and both Elvis and Johnny Cash also have their own comic book biographies.

You can listen to an interview with Chrisoulis where he discusses Tales of the Smiths: A Graphic Biography and the period it covers, below.

Rockarchive is delighted to be able to offer many iconic The Smiths, Morrissey and Johnny Marr images as limited edition photographic prints which you can buy herehere and here.

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