Guest post: Daniel Hartwell on The Pirates of Pangaea

Following on from my reading of The Pirates of Pangaea I was lucky enough to get a bit of an insight about the story behind the comic from the author of the comic himself, Daniel Hartwell, read on to find out where the story came from. 

I guess ultimately I just wanted to tell a classic adventure story, combining elements from classics like Stevenson’s Treasure Island and Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. Pirates! Dinosaurs! Together at last!

So, when I wrote the first draft of Pirates it was intended for a teenage audience. It was going to be really knowing and over the top and have a similar sort of tone as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sophie knew Kung Fu and Kelsey was a middle aged man who looked a bit like Kelsey Grammar.

I spent a while pitching it to anyone who’d listen and well, luckily one of the people that did listen was a talented chap called Neill Cameron.

Neill and I creatively hit it off immediately. He shares my love of combining awesome things like pirates and dinosaurs and has even written a guide to the process in his ‘How to Make Awesome Comics’ book. It’s even got an appendix listing awesome things you can try combining! Here’s a link to it.

Anyway one day I got an email from Neill saying he’d pitched the idea to a new children’s comic called the Phoenix and they’d said they were interested in printing it.

Hurrah! But… this meant a bit re-writing it so it’d work better for a younger audience. Though now when I look back at some of my old scripts I don’t think we changed it as much as I’d thought. The Kung Fu stuff is gone, and Sophie and Kelsey were turned into children, but actually I think it’s actually fairly close to the spirit of the original.

I think having the cast as children actually made the stories all the more thrilling. Child characters in an adult world are always underdogs, and underdogs are the ones to root for right?

The Pirates of Pangaea by Daniel Hartwell and Neill Cameron is out now, published by David Fickling Books, price £8.99