When the Sleeper Wakes:
The graphic Novel?

Ever since  I was 16 years old I knew that When the Sleeper Wakes was going to be one of those books that was going to grab me and never let go.

Not that it's H.G. Wells' best scientific romance, in fact it has some pretty rushed writing and some attitudes that were problematic, maybe less so in the 1899 but definitely in 2021 and even as far back as 1973 (When I ws 16 years old!). Wells re-wrote the book as The Sleeper Wakes in 1910, so maybe he had some concerns too.

Even so, there's some very cool stuff going on in WTSW: a precient steampunk vibe with air combat scenes written four years before Kitty Hawk's maiden flight; and the book is a mix between a dystopia and a high adventure/romance story. Logan's Run is one of the few other examples of that mix that I can think of.


They must be hard to write.

But will this Sleeper wake?  
it depends on you

At various times I've tried to adapt When the Sleeper Wakes to other media. The fact that the novel has it's problems probably made me want to do it all the more. Somebody, some where said that flawed literary works are often more fertile material for adaptation. At least I think they said that, or maybe it was a dream or an hallucination caused by reading too much old science fictionn.

A film version seemed out of the question, so I skipped that. Besides George Pal planned to on do a movie of WTSW and that never happened. It's a dream of mine to go tothe Eaton Collection in Los Angeles and read the script that Pal commissioned. There's also a script of RUR there that I want to see. And yes, I'm a really fun guy to vacation with.

So first I wrote a stage version. Ideally, it would have been a musical. No way forward. It would have been even more complicated than making a film. Besides there was no foolish composer on-hand to collaborate with.

Then I wrote a radio play adaptation. There was interest. Then there was no interest. Sigh. Happens sometimes.

And finally, while talking to a publisher in India about doing a comic book biography of H.G. Wells, it occurred to me that a graphic novel adaptation of WTSW would be enormously fun to read. So I wrote that too.


It's important to do such things in threes so everyone knows you're some kind of obsessive crazy person.

But I didn't want to just shop the script around on its own. The art is at least 50% of what makes for a successful graphic novel -- so I commissioned Will O'Brien to create some brilliant concepts sketches and preliminary layouts. What you'll experience when you click the link below is an early preview of When the Sleeper Wakes (combining the words and pictures) and prelude to an online fund raising campaign to secure the resources to pay Will to produce the finished artwork and bring a publishing partner on board.




What I need from you now is for you to check out the preview script and tell me: a) If this the Wellsian graphic novel that you would like to read, and b) are you ready, willing and/or able to contribute to it's completion? 

You can email: spencer.hugh@gmail.com to let me know

Now please start clicking and enjoy this startling vision of one of yesterday's most thrilling tomorrows.

 william f. o'Brien

Will is one of the world of fantasy illustration's rising stars; with powerful images, incredible and ingenious interpretation, and a command of style and design that takes the viewer to the most vivid realities and beyond!

He currently lives in Cardston Alberta with his lovely, lively and always inspiring family.

Want to make it Happen?


Watch this page for future information!