I get asked semi-often where I came up with the idea for The Iron Druid Chronicles, and I respond, quite truthfully, that it started out as a webcomic based around a guy who could talk telepathically with his dog. I was going to call it American Druid. It was always about Atticus and Oberon, and all the worldbuilding and mythology came into it much later. Until now, however, I’ve never been able to “prove it,” because the computer on which I was doing all my illustration died abruptly with no possibility of recovering a damn thing. Did I have backups? Nope. Damn damn damn. But I always figured, hey, it’s no big deal, because I abandoned that project anyway after six pages and started writing Hounded instead. BUT GUESS WHAT!
I was cleaning my house (I know, right?) and tucked away in a box were the paper-and-pencil layouts for my webcomic! It was such a trip to find them, especially since I haven’t seen them since 2008 and now here we are with three novels about Atticus and Oberon out on the shelves. For me, it’s fascinating to see what made it into the novel and what didn’t. The first four pages show Atticus and Oberon hunting bighorn sheep at Papago Park without Flidais. Page 4 is the big splash page, where Atticus shifts from hound to human and you see him standin’ there nekkid with all his tats on display. Page 5 is where we really get introduced to them as characters and see their relationship, so I’ve scanned it for you and included it below. You can click to enlarge. Be warned, however, that I kind of suck at drawing dogs, and even though I’m a bit better at it now, arrgh. It’s a good thing I didn’t try to pursue the comic any more after this! I think you’ll have fun recognizing some stuff from the books, though!
Fun, huh? On page six they kind of sneak into the kitchen and find Flidais there trying to figure out how to make a strawberry smoothie. So much of this made it into the book in one way or another—the story arc that I had planned for several issues of the comic just got absorbed into the novel. Keep in mind that this was drawn two or three months before I decided to write a novel instead; I did a lot more research once that decision was made, and obviously I chose to begin Hounded inside Third Eye Books & Herbs instead of at Papago Park. Different mediums suggest different ways to tell stories. I also don’t draw Atticus this way anymore; my image of him changed as I wrote the book. Anyway, I made a copy of page 5 and wrote some comments on it for funsies.