Dungeons & Dragons: Cutter—the newest comic book series from IDW Publishing and Wizards of the Coast—debuts today! Written by R.A. Salvatore and Geno Salvatore, this five-issue series is the perfect introduction to the world of D&D comic books and graphic novels. Featuring astounding art by David Baldeon and colors by David Garcia Cruz, the action never lets up, and the intricate plotting and character work that made the Salvatore name is burning strong. We sat down with the Salvatores to get an introduction to this new series, available at comic book stores everywhere, and at http://read.idwpublishing.com or via the Comixology and iBooks apps on your computer or mobile device.
What is the “Cutter” that gives this comic book series its title?
Bob: “Cutter” is the nickname of the sentient long sword, Khazid’hea, which has appeared in several of my older Drizzt novels.
Geno: Khazid’hea first appears in Starless Night, and has changed hands several times through the Drizzt novels. It was last seen in the hands of Tos’un Armgo, a drow renegade.
Can we expect to see any familiar faces (from your novels or from lore) in this series?
Bob: Oh yes, of course! Tos’un, the lead character and his elven wife were both around for the Hunter’s Blades series, and we learned about their two children through the books and short stories, as well. Also, this series will lead us back to many other familiar characters in the novels going forward.
How did this comic book come about?
Bob: Geno and I had such a good time writing Drizzt: Neverwinter Tales that I wanted to do another one. Given the scope of The Sundering, the great world event that’s shaking the Forgotten Realms, there are many side-stories to tell. For this one, I thought a comic series was the perfect medium.
Geno: The story itself feels like a natural one to tell—Tos’un’s story in the novels was an interesting one, and he was left in an open-ended place. So we decided to explore what has happened to him and his family.
How does the process of writing a comic book differ from a novel?
Bob: You have to be very efficient with language, of course, and make sure that you’re on the exact same page as the artist, who is, in many ways, relating more of the story than you, the writer, are. I’m a visual writer, but with this format, I’m forced to really pare back my usual manner of letting the characters describe the scene before them.
Geno: Space is at a premium in a graphic novel. There are only so many pages in an issue. So, in order to tell the full story, you really have to use that space efficiently. There simply isn’t enough space on the page for anything not essential to the story. Of course, I’m not sure that’s really different from novel writing—anything not moving the story forward can and should be cut from a novel, as well—but writing a graphic novel really forces you to consider what is and what is not essential.
You’ve both written comics before, of course—but have you become more comfortable with the medium?
Bob: I certainly am. What’s very intriguing to me is that all I’m really doing is channeling the way I “see” a story a bit differently than when I’m writing it in a novel, and honestly, the comics are starting to seem equally (if not more) natural to me.
Geno: One of the first things I published starting out was a graphic novel short (co-authored with my father), which was featured as part of a graphic novel based on his DemonWars world. Returning to graphic novels for Neverwinter Tales and now for Cutter feels very natural to me. I very much enjoy and feel very comfortable with visual media.
Have you enjoyed working with artist David Baldeon?
Bob: Oh, absolutely! Every time the next pages show up, I open the e-mail and gasp with awe. David can tell a story as well as anyone, and beautifully.
Geno: David’s work is amazing.
Will this series have a lasting impact on the landscape of Dungeons & Dragons—and the Forgotten Realms specifically?
Bob: Yes, because Cutter is leading us to something bigger and darker. My novel due next March refers to this series directly and importantly.