How did the graphic novel come about?
I was approached by my Italian publisher, Piemme, to adapt The Kite Runner into a graphic novel. The idea was intriguing to me as I have been a fan of comic books since childhood. After agreeing to the endeavor two illustrators were signed on, Fabio Celoni and Mirka Andolfo. While I did not have the opportunity to meet them in person, I did exchange an email or two. It was my intention to give them the room they needed for their artistic instincts to take over. I reviewed some pages as Fabio progressed and it was immensely exciting to see the story shaping up visually. The aim was to use existing dialogue in the novel to advance the story, complimented by Fabio’s artwork. Some of the dialogue has become familiar to readers of the book, and is essential to the story. Baba’s speech about sin, for instance, Rahim Khan’s ‘way to be good again’ line. In other instances, there were scenes that naturally lent themselves to visual interpretation. For those, no dialogue or narration was needed; rather the graphic novel relied on imagery. While I spent pages in my novel describing the kite fighting scenes, Fabio was able to do such a wonderful job of capturing the energy and excitement of the tournament, that there was no need for much dialogue at all.
Who is the graphic novel for?
The graphic novel is intended for a wide spectrum of readers including those who read the novel, who may be curious to see the story depicted in a visual, artistic form. Young readers who may not have read the novel may pick up the graphic novel and enjoy the story from this medium as well. It is also intended for fans of graphic novels, whether they have read the original novel or not. My hope is that this graphic novel, and Fabio and Mirka’s terrific artwork enhances the story for the readers and lends additional dimension to the reading experience to readers both familiar and not with the original novel.
What is Khaled’s history with comic books?
I read comics as a boy. I began with Marvel and DC, read a lot of Batman, Daredevil, Spiderman, Iron Man, etc. Later, I read most of Alan Moore’s work, Watchmen, From Hell, his take on the Swamp Thing. I read Frank Miller, especially his iconic take on the dark knight and also his terrific stint with Daredevil. I enjoyed Garth Ennis’ Preacher series as well. I read more “serious” graphic novels as well, like Art Spiegelman’s Maus, and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis books, both of which are among my favorite novels, graphic or not.