First Comics News: What is The Once and Future Queen about?
Adam P. Knave: A modern-day retelling of the Arthurian legend, The Once and Future Queen follows Rani Arturus, a nineteen-year-old chess prodigy, as she discovers that she’s the true wielder of Excalibur—with all that means for her life and family.
1st: Who is the queen in this series?
Adam: Rani is our queen. She’s serious, and focused, at times almost too focused, while still trying to work out what her life is and could possibly be. In the middle of that her life takes a turn and now she needs to figure out what she wants and if she could even have it. Plus she has a number of relationship questions to untangle and deal with, like many people do, weighing her down.
1st: What part will Fae and Merlin play in The Once and Future Queen?
Adam: The Fae want to invade Earth for reasons that will be explained as we go and Merlin…Merlin, as always, has his own agenda. Both will be revealed as the story goes, helping to shape the world.
1st: Does having Arturus, a female, pull the sword Excalibur from the stone create opportunities for you to change the story?
Adam: Sure, though really it is more about dragging Arthurian legend into the modern era. It’s a story that adjusts and changes over the ages and always will; we’re simply part of the cloth being woven. Exploring a non-cishet white male ruler widens a lot of avenues for us, of course. We keep getting locked in that mode, for countless historical and societal reasons and need to break out of it. Every change gives us new chances to tell new stories.
1st: Will Arturus be seeing any romance in her future?
Adam: Oh, very much yes. We hint at some of it in issue 1, and fans of Arthurian legend will think they know some of the rest but we’re also, again, going somewhere modern with it, so there is a lot more to be discovered.
1st: Are there both good and evil knights in The Once and Future Queen?
Adam: In this arc, we are focused on the threat of the Fae, which limits the evil-knight possibilities but in no way removes them. Knights come in many shapes and sizes.
1st: Who co-writes The Once and Future Queen with you?
Adam: D.J. Kirkbride and I have been writing comics together since around 2009. I adore working with him. We each bring different things to the table in terms of structure and what we want to say but we have the same basic sensibilities, which allows us to find middle ground that neither of us would land on alone. I’ve learned, and continue to learn, a ton about writing from working with him.
1st: Why is Crazy Little Things important to you?
Adam: CLT was the first novella I wrote, but also just one of those stories that gets under your skin as a writer. I got to play with a bunch of themes, big and small, that I’d always wanted to dig into, and it became a bit of a proving ground for me. The publisher expected a different story, actually—had approved the other story and everything. I called and warned him I needed to go in a different direction and ran with it. Thankfully he was all right with that; a lot of people would have dumped the project when it 100 percent shifted. But for me, it was the first time I was selling something I had written that wasn’t part of an anthology or in a magazine, just me alone and my work. That’s a big deal and will always be special because of it.
1st: Who is Amelia Cole?
Adam: Amelia is the star of the last series D.J. Kirkbride, Nick Brokenshire, and I worked on together. She is a bit of a hothead who doesn’t know how to not help people, regardless of personal consequence to herself. She is, in so many ways, the hero we wish we were. Over the course of the series, she grows into herself and becomes a leader, a woman who can lead the charge, smartly, and be an inspiration to her friends. She’s also a mage who uses a magic pipe wrench as a wand, so you know, there’s that too.
1st: How does it feel when people want your autograph on a comic?
Adam: Surreal. When we’re working a table or signing together, D.J. sometimes needs to remind me to sign a book someone buys. My default mode is “Why would you want that? I’m just some random dude.” And I sort of hope that feeling never goes away.
1st: Can you tell us all about This Starry Deep?
Adam: Starry Deep was a dream project for me. I grew up loving pulp SF and wanted to contribute my own take on things, but with some key changes. First, and to me most importantly, was to start the story at the end of the hero’s career. Old people in space is a thing now. It’s hard to chase someone with a bum knee, right? But the job still needs doing. Big space battles, crazy planets, jetpacks of a sort, and a bunch of punching—these are the things that went into Starry Deep. That and a love of family. It’s all about family, and what you’ll do for them.
1st: Will you be writing any other comics in the near future or would you like to?
Adam: Right now I’m focused on The Once and Future Queen, though I am setting up some future projects as well, just nothing I can discuss at this stage.
1st: How do you feel about the editing work you do?
Adam: I love editing. Helping a writer or a creative team come as close as possible to their vision of a story fills me with pure joy. Editing is a job where you get to work with other people and support them to help find the best parts of their creativity. That’s sheer magic, it is. I also get to work with great editors myself in my prose and comics work and learn from them. I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with some of the best editors.
1st: Anything to say to fans of your work?
Adam: Thank you. That pretty much sums it up. Money is never a free-flowing object, and for anyone to spend theirs on things I’ve worked on means the world. I consider it a trust, and I do my best—and will continue to do so—to earn that trust and entertain, to bring new ideas and new fun things to the table for you.