OCTOBER 14, 2019

 We are producing a graphic novel about one of the most extraordinary wars of all time: the Second Punic War. Many people may have heard of how Hannibal marched with elephants over the Alps, but far fewer know the full story of this astonishing struggle. In his bid to quash the rising power of Rome, and secure the freedom of Carthage, which was at the time the main rival to Rome's power in the Mediterranean, Hannibal had to conquer Spain, cross the Pyrenees mountains, make his way through the territories of the hostile Gauls in southern France, out-manoeuvre a Roman army to get to the Alps, and then cross the mountains in bad weather, all the time being attacked and having to deal with deserters, such that by the time he made it into what is today northern Italy, he had already lost 66,000 men, leaving him with a mere 26,000 to take on Rome on its home territory. He was then cut off from his homeland, in hostile territory, against the world's most efficient military state, and yet somehow he kept his multi-national army of Celts, Numidians, Africans, Spanish, Mediterranean islanders, and former Roman allies together, winning victory after victory, and never being defeated, for an incredible fifteen years, before the war transferred to Africa for the final showdown. Hannibal Barca was the son of an undefeated Carthaginian general, and was on campaign for most of his life. He is considered by many historians to be the greatest general of all time, and yet, because so many records of him have been lost, and the Romans victors got to tell their version of his defeat, he remains a mysterious figure. Time and time again he made audacious forced marches, used unique ruses of war, and defeated superior forces. His greatest victory was the immense clash at Cannae - one of the largest battles in history, in which an unprecedented sixteen legions were arrayed against him, when normally Rome defeated her enemies with two or four legions. The front ranks of the armies might have been as much as three miles across, and the result was one of the most one-sided and bloody days in recorded warfare. Rome sent many consuls (generals) against Hannibal, with wildly varying degrees of confidence, but from amongst these rose one who later would be honoured, perhaps for the first time in Roman history, with a name commemorating the place of his victory: Scipio Africanus. He first appears in history as a teenage cavalry commander, dashing in to save his father's life in the heat of battle. As the years went by, fate favoured this man who grew into one of Rome's greatest commanders, a man of strange destiny, who received the holy Mother Stone, symbolising that he was the best man of Rome, and, having learned from the greatest of teachers, his own enemy, he forged a fighting force finally capable of taking on Hannibal, and avenging Cannae. Livy's history of the war against Hannibal is particularly rich with fascinating tales of the terrors and labours of war, and of the desperate lengths the Romans went to, to keep Hannibal from their gates. When the threat of the 'lion's brood' of Hannibal and his brothers was at its greatest, the Romans sank to human sacrifice, and conscripting and arming untrained slaves and sending them into the field with duplicitous promises of freedom. Our tale is of war, of men, of plots, of the fate of the ancient world. Whichever side won, it would become the greatest power in the Mediterranean. The main historical sources are the writings of Livy and Polybius, but we also have writings from Plutarch, Appian, and others from the ancient world, plus modern scholars' works from which to draw. We want to get this right. Not only will the story fit with the historical sources, but also the buildings, clothing, and weapons depicted, and all the other artefacts of the Romans and Carthaginians will be based as far as possible on archaeological examples of the real items. Nikolas Lloyd (the writer) is best known on the interweb as the man behind the YouTube channel Lindybeige . His hundreds of thousands of subscribers watch him for his views on historical films, his comments on the ancient and medieval worlds, and his loquacious ability to boil up a quick simple idea into one of rambling complexity. He has a degree in archaeology, many beige shirts, and was co-writer of the steampunk stage play comedy The Adventures of Stoke Mandeville, Astronaut and Gentleman. Christopher Steininger (the artist) has drawn comics like Worlds of Dungeons & Dragons and Modo: Ember's End, done concept art for games such as Warhammer 40k and Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast, and produced storyboards for stuff like Spec Ops: The Line and Marvel's Avengers Assemble.