Anyone with any sort of geek-cred knows "Prince of Persia" as the successful video game franchise, but fans of the series know that there's much, much more to the story than an Arabian Prince who can magically stop time. And if you don't know about the game property that's soon to be a Jerry Bruckheimer-helmed major motion picture (and you can check out more info on that here), then "Prince of Persia" creator Jordan Mechner is gonna set you straight. And if he can't, then the recently-released original graphic novel certainly will.
According to Mechner, the "Prince of Persia" original graphic novel (published by First Second Books) will tie together the various incarnations and storylines of the franchise -- something that even the creator admits wasn't an easy task.
"When we started the book, there was the question which Prince [should we follow]," recalled Mechner, citing the different versions of "Prince of Persia -- from the original video game and its multiple sequels, as well as the upcoming film to which he wrote the screenplay.
"I’m looking at this going, we have all these all different conflicting stories and yet they’re all still 'Prince of Persia.' So I asked [writer] A.B. [Sina] -- because he’s so deeply versed in Persian history and folklore -- I asked him [if] there is a way in which they are the same character, even though they’re clearly not. And what he did is incredible. He weaves back and forth between two different time periods – the 9th and the 13th century – the past telling the story of the future, the future telling the story of the past, and it’s cool."
Despite the fact that Mechner hopes that the graphic novel will tie the "Prince of Persia" universe into one, coherent entity, he's quick to point out that the upcoming new "Prince of Persia" video game (due to hit stores in November), film and comic will not be tied together.
"The movie screenplay -- which I wrote for Bruckheimer -- that’s based on the “Sands of Time” game, I sort of reinvented the characters and the mythology to tailor it for what would make a great movie, as opposed to what would make a great gameplaying experience," explained Mechner. "The new game, the movie and the graphic novel are all completely separate. They’re separate stories and they’re actually separate characters. So it’s not like they’re different adventures in the life of the same of the same prince. They’re actually different takes on the whole 'Prince of Persia' [theme]."
But one thing that has left comic fans scratching their heads is why First Second -- known for their more literary, critically acclaimed graphic novels such as "American Born Chinese" and "Notes for a War Story" to name a few -- picked up the license for "Prince of Persia?"
"Usually graphic novels are seen as a merchandising tie-in, and that’s totally not what First Second is about," reiterated Mechner. "They do really high-quality – what you might call 'European-style' – graphic novels. They’ve never done anything that’s based on a movie or tied into anything. I realized this was a rare chance to do something fresh and different with 'Prince of Persia.'"
Did you pick up the "Prince of Persia" graphic novel? If so, what's the verdict? And are you gonna check out the upcoming film? Let us know in the comments.