|New Yellow Submarine comic book|
|The 1999 re-release on VHS and DVD|
Early in 1999, Bill Morrison was approached by Dark Horse Comics, and commissioned to produce the new comic book. The DVD was released in September of ’99, and Morrison remembers the comic adaptation was being timed to coincide with the DVD release, according to a 2006 article over at the comics website CBR.com.
|The 1968 comic book adaptation.|
The new comic book was to be one of the various merchandise items to be made available to the public alongside the release of the film on DVD and VHS, together with the Yellow Submarine Songtrack on CD and coloured vinyl, as well as new action figures from McFarlane Toys. Morrison was first approached by Michael Martens at Dark Horse and asked to adapt the script and draw it.
The comic book was going to be a full-colour 48 page one-shot (a standalone comic book not part of a series), prestige format. Morrison was contracted to do the entire project and brought in a few of his buddies (from Bongo Comics, where Morrison was employed at the time) to help out. Nathan Kane was colouring the art, and Chris Ungar was handling the lettering. Also, Morrison enlisted his wife, Kayre, to help translate some of the dialogue from VHS copies of the film. Morrison remembers her calling him into her office to listen over and over to bits of dialogue that neither of them could understand because of the poor audio quality and the thick Liverpool accents.
|The 1987 VHS video cassette|
As he recalls, Morrison was given little input on the direction to take on the project, back in the day.
"I remember doing a little sample drawing to see if I had the style down, but I believe that was more for my sake than theirs. In fact, I don’t recall if I ever showed them that drawing. I do remember doing the cover first, because they were going to print it as a poster. Remember when Dark Horse had those promotional newspaper comics that were distributed at comic shops? It was going to be printed full-size on the back of one of those."
|Sample page in "psychedelic" style, from Morrison's book.|
"I also found a copy of a Yellow Submarine book with pictures from the film. I really wanted badly to capture the look of the film. As a Beatles fan myself, I approached it from a fan point of view and tried to bury my own style (whatever that is!)."
"As for the design, I thought about the film and how psychedelic it is. I wanted to translate that onto the page beyond just what I depicted in each panel. So I found inspiration in the black light posters I used to cover my bedroom walls with. I designed the opening Pepperland pages very much like psychedelic posters."
|Regular "basic and dull" panels with Ringo in Liverpool. From Morrison's book.|
"Then the Liverpool scene with Ringo is pretty basic and dull. But when he and Fred start to assemble the other Beatles one by one, the page design starts getting weird and psychedelic again. I always felt that some of the pages could have had a second life as a black light poster book."
"I completed 26 pages, pencil and ink, and I believe Nathan had ten or so pages colored. I think Chris had most of the 26 pages lettered, too," Morrison said. "From what I understand, the executive at Apple Records who oversees the Beatles merchandise had a change of heart. I heard that he only wanted to do really high-class merchandise for this roll out and he suddenly decided that comic books didn’t qualify. He pulled out of the deal and left [Dark Horse Publisher] Mike Richardson holding the bag. And Dark Horse paid me for every bit of my work! He’s a real mensch, that Mike. Another story I heard was that George Harrison felt that because his company was also named Dark Horse, people may think that he was the producer of the comic. If it was bad, he’d get blamed for it. But I think that was just a rumor."
|Preview from the upcoming comic book, No panels, but circles on this page.|
This story puts together text from CBR.com and Hollywood Reporter.
An anniversary edition of the film itself is not on the cards, as a 2012 release on Blu-ray as well as DVD still is in the shops.
Titan Comics is excited to announce a deal with Apple Corps Ltd to publish an official illustrated adaptation of The Beatles’ iconic animated film, Yellow Submarine. Due to hit stores in 2018 to tie-in with the 50th Anniversary of the release of the movie. The deal was brokered by Bravado International, The Beatles’ North American licensing agent.
The Beatles: Yellow Submarine movie (originally released in 1968) is an animated musical fantasy film inspired by the music of The Beatles. In the film, Paul, John, George and Ringo agree to accompany Captain Fred in his Yellow Submarine and go to Pepperland to free it from the music-hating Blue Meanies.
Directed by animation producer George Dunning, the film received widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike. Since its original release, the movie has become a cornerstone of contemporary popular culture and has inspired generations of award-winning animators.
Titan’s official illustrated adaptation of The Beatles: Yellow Submarine is written and illustrated by Bill Morrison – writer and artist from The Simpsons Comics. As a huge fan of The Beatles, this has been a labor of love for Bill, twenty years in the making.
“We’re thrilled to be publishing The Beatles: Yellow Submarine for the 50th Anniversary of this fantastic movie,” said Chris Teather, Publishing Director at Titan Comics. “We can’t wait for Beatles fans to experience this official adaptation.”
The Beatles: Yellow Submarine Official illustrated adaptation from Titan is due to hit stores in 2018.