Jordan Mechner wrote and designed the video game franchise, Prince of Persia, which has sold over 17 million copies to date. He also adapted the story to screenplay in 2010 for Disney’s, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the highest grossing game adaptation of all time bringing in worldwide about $335 million. Turning his attention to the graphic novel, his first, with Solomon’s Thieves, I expect success in this genre to no lesser degree. The historically interesting and relevant writing combined with the superb art and coloring of former DreamWorks employees and married duo of Pham and Puvilland not only make for a fun, hard to put down read, but, in my opinion, almost ensures them of an opportunity to make Solomon’s Thieves, the first released in what is to be a trilogy of graphics, into a feature film.
While researching the Knights Templar for a possible screenplay project, Mechner, found great interest in the downfall of the order that began in 1307 A.D. with the King of France ordering the arrest of some 15,000 Templars whom had just recently returned from fighting in the Crusades, blaming them for witchcraft, sodomy, and heresy in order to obtain wealth for the depleted bank of the crown. Under pressure, the papacy backed these claims and released the Inquisition on the Templar soldiers, torturing and burning them at the stake for their proposed crimes. Bound by honor, most of the Templars walked proudly to their questioning and subsequent doom. There were a scattered few noted survivors, however, and this is where Mechner’s story for Solomon’s Thieves begins. He notes in the afterword of the graphic, “I got the feeling it was the troublemakers, the ones with a slightly scoundrelly streak, who had a better chance of slipping through the net, while the morally blameless ones who followed the rules went dutifully like lambs to the slaughter.” So begins the story of Martin, the scoundrel Templar, whom escapes the Inquisitor’s rack to attempt to restore pride and honor to his fallen tribe and receive justice from those who had taken it away.
Solomon’s Thieves read like I was watching a gritty Disney adventure, from the sympathizing characterization to the lighting and mood of the immaculately drawn settings. It is one of those ‘what if’ historical storylines that one may easily follow on its own merits, or, force a more curious mind into the past to discover reasoning behind it. And, for those of you who find yourself in the latter category, Mechner provides an extensive bibliography at the end of the novel for you to explore. According to, http://jordanmechner.com/, book two and three of the trilogy are almost complete and should be released by the end of 2012. More information on Mechner’s projects can be found on his aforementioned site, which I encourage you to do. The undeniable talents of LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland can be found in more detail at these sites: http://www.leuyenpham.com/ and http://alexpuvilland.com/
These two are also part of a wonderful project for fans of animation and illustration called Sketchtravel. Check it out: http://www.sketchtravel.com/