French author, Jules Verne was born on this date in 1828. Like many people, I first came to know him through the Disney adaptation of his best known novel, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I first saw it when I was in fourth grade and it aired on the Wonderful World of Disney and the impact it had on me was huge and immediate. It colored everything I did, what I played, what I drew, what I wrote. In a nice bit of timing, the Scholastic book club, offered the novel right afterwards, and that led me to a great number of Verne's books, many of which I own in multiple editions.
What really stuck with me about Verne's books weren't just the fantastical elements, but that so much of his books were rooted in the real physical world around us (while I haven't read it in decades, Journey to the Center of the Earth is something I remember as having vast passages concerning geology before much really happens) that when the fantastic elements are introduced they seem simultaneously more probable and even more fantastic.
I still visit and revisit his works periodically and am still captivated by them. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea will always remain my favorite in any form, whether it's the novel, a comic book adaptation, the Disney movie, or the the Disney World ride based on the movie. Verne's influence has even carried over to my new Xombi series which debuts next month, with Master of the World, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea creeping their way onto the pages of issues 4, 5, and 6 in some pretty substantial ways.
So thank you Jules Verne for all the continuing enjoyment and influence.