YEL­LOW SUB­MA­RINE

BEA­TLES PSYCH-TOON YEL­LOW SUB­MA­RINE IS NOW A GRAPHIC NOVEL. NICK SETCH­FIELD EX­PLORES A SEA OF GREEN WITH WRITER BILL MOR­RI­SON

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All aboard for Pep­per­land! The Bea­tles’ an­i­mated head-trip gets the graphic novel treat­ment. Full speed ahead, Mr Boatswain!

In 1968 the Bea­tles came to the big screen in an­i­mated form. not so much a movie as a head trip, Yel­low Sub­ma­rine put the Fab Four into a mind-ex­pand­ing psy­che­delic ad­ven­ture, on a quest to save Pep­per­land from the ne­far­i­ous Blue mea­nies.

now there’s a new graphic novel adap­ta­tion by Bill mor­ri­son, for­mer Dis­ney il­lus­tra­tor and co-founder of Bongo comics with The

Simp­sons’ matt Groen­ing. “I’ve been a big Bea­tles fan since I was a kid,” says mor­ri­son. “this was re­ally just a dream come true. It’s one of those things where you don’t hes­i­tate. You just say yes.”

YOU’RE FAITH­FUL TO THE LOOK OF THE FILM. WHAT IS IT ABOUT YEL­LOW SUB­MA­RINE THAT STILL RES­ONATES, 50 YEARS ON?

It was unique. It fits rights in with the psy­che­delic look of the times. the char­ac­ter de­signs still work, they still look fresh. they just nailed it.

DID IT EVER WORRY YOU THAT THE SONGS WERE THE GLUE HOLD­ING THE WHOLE THING TO­GETHER?

It was a chal­lenge, be­cause I couldn’t use any of the lyrics. some of the song se­quences didn’t re­ally move the story ahead but there were a cou­ple that did, so I had to be a lit­tle cre­ative in por­tray­ing those.

WHAT DID YOU NEED TO BRING TO THE PAGE TO COM­PEN­SATE FOR THE LACK OF SOUND AND MO­TION?

I re­ally looked to graphic de­sign, and psy­che­delic poster art from that pe­riod. that was the one thing I

could do on a static page that they re­ally couldn’t do in a film. as cre­ative and as fun and as psy­che­delic as Yel­low Sub­ma­rine is, it wouldn’t make sense for them to have a lot of poster de­sign el­e­ments in a film. there’s no rea­son. But in a graphic novel there’s ev­ery rea­son. so I filled it up with that. I think that’s the one thing that makes you go, “oh, I’d love to look at this…” It’s bring­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent be­cause oth­er­wise why not just watch the film? [laughs]

ARE YOU FAITH­FUL TO THE SCREEN­PLAY OR DID YOU HAVE ROOM TO RIFF?

I fol­lowed it very closely. some­times I’d think, “oh, I need to write a line for Ringo here and move the story along,” but other than that I tried to be as faith­ful as pos­si­ble.

WHICH BEA­TLE WAS YOUR FAVOURITE TO DRAW?

I’d say John. I love his cos­tume. I love how his shirt bil­lows out over his jacket. he’s got the shirt sleeves that come out, and it’s all very frilly. and the glasses and the way his hair works and the mous­tache, it’s re­ally fun. and of all the car­i­ca­tures in the film it’s maybe the one that looks the most like the ac­tual per­son.

DOES IT FEEL MELAN­CHOLY RE­VIS­IT­ING THE ERA OF LOVE AND PEACE, GIVEN THE WAY THE WORLD’S TURNED OUT?

I don’t know if it’s melan­choly. there is a bit of nos­tal­gia, I think. But it was also a tur­bu­lent time back then, with the Viet­nam War and protests. I think the book re­ally de­liv­ers a mes­sage that’ll be well re­ceived to­day, in the same way that it was re­ceived back then. a mes­sage of peace and love, love con­quer­ing hate, and also re­demp­tion, the re­demp­tion of evil. the evil-do­ers in the film are as bad as bad can be and you don’t think they can ever come over to the good side, but they do. You should put a spoiler warn­ing there! [laughs]

The Bea­tles: Yel­low Sub­ma­rine is out now from Ti­tan Comics.

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