Corpse Talk – Dead Good Storytellers Blog Tour

This full colour illustrated, comic strip style title by Adam and Lisa Murphy features a selection of famous poets, playwrights, novelists, and writers, some of which readers may recognise such as Shakespeare, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whilst others will be all new referenced writers for the latest generation of readers to become acquainted with, and consequently fans of.

The content is styled like talk show interviews, with author Adam Murphy directing the ‘conversations’ with infamous guests from the world of literature. And what an exciting line up there is in store!

This graphic novel is written to appeal to today’s readers, and ensures they are able to follow along without confusion, as they travel through history, and become immersed in worlds created by the likes of Charles Dickens.

Adam Murphy ‘interviews’ each of the books respective content contributors, giving the reader a glimpse at who these people were when they were alive, what they faced during their respective lifetimes, and how they came to be such established writers of the respective genre they are known for.

Following directly after the back story aspect to each of the fifteen people that feature, there is a ‘Corpse Talk Version’ of something each person has written, such as Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, or William Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

What makes these versions of timeless classic titles appealing to this books intended readers is that the text is easy to navigate, and the subject of the text is self explanatory throughout, using modern day language and context in place of the original dated text. This means children are not confused by terminology used, and serves to engage and entertain readers as they become immersed in the worlds of some of history’s greatest writers.

Reading through and finding Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace written in an understandable, fun, modern adaptation made me impressed at the lengths Adam and Lisa Murphy have gone to when creating this book, particularly as I found the original War and Peace to be an overwhelming read – struggling to follow the numerous characters and scenes.

The illustrated comic strips are brim full of detail, and flawless in design, as they bring each story to life so vividly, and encourage the readers imagination too. To detail these writers works in just four pages of comic takes incredible talent, and Adam and Lisa Murphy have gone further still, by ensuring the way they have done so is engaging, true to the original, relevant to today’s generation of readers, and maintains appeal. To read and understand Tolstoy’s War and Peace, or that of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations in so few pages speaks volumes to the success of these authors, and the quality of their content.

As part of the Corpse Talk Blog Tour I recently asked Adam and Lisa what it is like working together, and how they came to write Corpse Talk : Dead Good Storytellers, which adds further insight into the creation of such an interesting new publication that will be loved by a wide range of readers, including those reluctant yet capable readers looking for a book to captivate them.

A husband-and-wife comics team on working together

We’ve been working on CorpseTalk for the best part of a decade now. We’ve been working from home for all of that time, so we’ve gotten quite used to being together! On hearing this, people will sometimes ask, rather incredulously, how we manage it, and don’t we get sick of each other? While naturally we have fallings out like any couple, we’ve always gotten on well together, and just enjoy being together all day. We’ve just started reading Mo Willams’ excellent Elephant & Piggie series with our son – if you’ve read those, you’ll have a pretty good idea of our couple dynamic (one is very serious, rule-based and analytical, one is spirited, emotional and unconstrained by convention). We try to make a point to appreciate and celebrate those differences: in our relationship, and our work, those different strengths and insights are a big part of what makes it work.


Of course, it’s not always plain sailing. The biggest bone of contention is always time – managing, prioritising, juggling. We’ve got a pretty good routine right now, where daytime is mostly tag-teaming between work, homeschooling, housework etc – juggling who has work tasks needing doing, and who our son is asking for more insistently. Adam then works in the evenings, to get a reasonably reliable, uninterrupted stretch of work in every day.

We knew we wanted to make working from home work, even before lockdowns made it a requirement. For us, the priorities were always being able to do meaningful work we care about, and being able to spend as much time as possible together as a family. We try to be humorous about it – we have Christmas office parties, including Secret Santas (not terribly secret when there’s only 2 of you…). It’s not always easy: every day brings new challenges. But it means that the three of us get to spend our days together, and that’s incredibly meaningful to us.

How we came to start writing the CorpseTalk titles

Adam:

We were approached by The Phoenix magazine to do a non-fiction comic (we had done some non-fiction stuff with them in the past). They initially wanted to do something about modern famous people, which I quickly realised was a BAD IDEA since we wanted to be free to speak honestly, and so we were clearly going to get SUED. Which is where the idea that they need to be dead people came from, since you cannot libel the dead. But it was Lisa who had the stroke of genius that it should be a chat show with zombies, an idea I would never have thought of in a million years, and such a brilliant conceit that makes the whole thing sparkle.

Corpse Talk : dead Good Storytellers is published by David Fickling Books, and is available to purchase from all good booksellers priced at just £9.99.

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