When moonlighting as a comics writer, Jerome Maida must sometimes walk a fine line.
As a trained journalist, he says he does exhaustive research in service to the highest authenticity in his bio-comics. And as a cinematically minded scripter, he’s keenly aware of the unique storytelling challenges that a visual medium like the graphic novel presents.
So with his newest book, “Killing Geronimo: The Hunt for Osama bin Laden,” Maida may well have his most demanding assignment yet.
“We wanted it to be action-packed with the tension of a Jason Bourne movie,” Maida tells Comic Riffs on Tuesday, upon the announcement of the graphic novel. Yet while one eye is on excitement, he says, the other is trained on extreme accuracy.
“A book like this — that we know will also gain interest from people in the military — we want it to be 100 percent accurate down to the details of which types of guns they use,” the Pennsylvania-based Maida says. “The little details can turn someone off on the book” if incorrect.
The highest drama, of course, is inherent: “Killing Geronimo” will center on last May’s lethal mission targeting the al-Qaeda leader in Pakistan. (“Geronimo” was the military’s controversial code name for bin Laden during Operation Neptune Spear.)
Maida is co-writing the 96-page graphic novel with Darren G. Davis, president of Vancouver-based Bluewater Productions.
Bluewater is accustomed to going it alone, but for this spring 2012 release, the independent comics publisher is joining forces with a big partner: Simon & Schuster.
“Working with Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books has been amazing,” Davis tells Comic Riffs. “It is nice to be on the other side for a change and just producing a book, rather than being the publisher.”
Davis also emphasizes that just because this is a comic doesn’t mean the book’s bin Laden will be a “cartoon villain.” (Earlier this year, IDW Publishing announced its serious illustrated look at SEAL Team 6’s bin Laden raid.)
For Maida, “Killing Geronimo” is an entirely different beast from his previous works for Bluewater, which include bio-comics on Mark Zuckerberg, Al Franken and Bill O’Reilly.
“We used about 30 different sources from documentaries, to YouTube and tons of newspaper and network news reports,” Maida tells ‘Riffs.
The reporter believes readers will find not only the final bin Laden mission compelling, but also the various coordinated missions.
“A lot of people do not realize that there was more than one, which we go into the book,” the writer says of “Killing Geronimo,” which will be illustrated by James Boulton. Through other missions, Maida says, “they were able to gain the intelligence to make sure that the raid succeeded, and that it was a methodical, painstaking process.”