Fantasy author Brandon Sanderson is no stranger to the graphic novel format. He published a Cosmere-related graphic novel trilogy in White Sand. Now Sanderson is set to release a new graphic novel at the end of the summer, called The Dark One. It will be released by Vault Comics.
The Dark One Is Not Related To The Wheel of Time
Image via Vault Comics
The project has been in development for years, and began when Sanderson worked on completing the Wheel of Time series. Fans of WoT might wonder if this graphic novel is related to The Dark One in Wheel of Time – the evil Sauron-like god that is the big bad of that series. But it appears that this graphic novel is unrelated to Wheel of Time. It is also unclear whether or not the graphic novel is connected to Sanderson’s Cosmere universe.
The official synopsis for The Dark One graphic novel tells us a little bit about what to expect from the series. “Paul is a young man who sees visions of strange and fantastic worlds. Visions he initially believes are hallucinations. But these visions turn out to be prophesies. Dark projections of a world in which Paul is a tyrant who destroys the world and the creatures that reside there.”
Is The Dark One Related To Sanderson’s Cosmere?
The Dark One is set on an alternate Earth, an electrified world based on the work of Nikola Tesla. Sanderson has been posting updates about this project since 2013, when he first indicated that it was a non-Cosmere title. Then in 2014 he reversed that position after working on it further and said that it would be Cosmere-related. However we are unsure where he ended up in the final version. Notably, whenever Sanderson writes a book that touches on the ‘real world’ in any way it is usually not Cosmere related. Other titles in this arena are his YA novels. The Rithmatist, Skyward and Starsight, along with his Reckoners series are all unrelated to the Cosmere.
In a letter he released for the announcement of The Dark One, Sanderson delved into where the graphic novel came from.
“Many years ago I had an idea for a story. Now, ideas aren’t precious things as a writer — you tend to have far more ideas than you can actually write. Some ideas, however, are special. These are the ideas that stay with you, haunt you, refuse to let you leave them alone. This was one such idea. What if you discovered that you were a figure from the prophesy of a fantasy world? Only, unlike Harry Potter or any number of mythical heroes from books in the past, what if you found out the prophesy had identified you as the destroyer. Evil in embryo. The Dark One.”
The Dark One Was Originally Supposed To Be A Television Show
Image via Wikimedia Commons
According to The Coppermind (the Sanderson wiki page) the project was intended at some point to be a television show. The graphic novels and several prequel novels were planned to accompany a television drama. Allegedly Sanderson was working with Fremantle Media to bring the series to life. As recently as July of 2019, Sanderson was still working on a television adaptation with J. Michael Straczynski. However it is unclear if the show is still happening. In his official announcement for The Dark One, Sanderson made no mention of the television adaptation. His focus was on the graphic novel format, and why he felt it worked for the story.
“As I’d paced it, the story didn’t feel like a novel. Not a traditional one, at least. So I began looking for a partnership that would tell the story the way I envisioned. This book is the final culmination of that process: the first story I’ve written intending it to be a graphic novel.”
Sanderson wrote his previous graphic novel trilogy White Sand as short stories designed to become novels, before it evolved into comic form. The Dark One is unique because it was written for the graphic novel format. However with the highly visual nature of Sanderson’s work (and graphic novels in general) it would be very interesting to see this story come to life onscreen, if that option is still being considered.
Read The First Chapter Of The Dark One Free Online
The Dark One graphic novel by Brandon Sanderson is set for digital release on June 26, with a physical release shipping on August 17, 2020. The first chapter of the graphic novel was originally supposed to be released on Free Comic Book Day this year. As that event was indefinitely postponed due to the pandemic, that never happened. However, you can now read it for free online in advance of the release of the graphic novel.
Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.