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About the Life-Line Graphic Novel

In the fall of 2019, I was challenged to produce a student film adaptation of Robert Heinlein's first published short story, “Life-Line.” As I began researching the project, I was overwhelmed by the amount of information and support I received from The Heinlein Society and Heinlein fans in general. For Robert's first published short story, I was blown away by how beloved “Life-Line” has become.  


So what began as a lark quickly turned into a serious project, and as I began to storyboard the scenes, I learned from discussion groups that the main character, Pinero, has been mentioned in other Heinlein novels.  Also, while reading through the Virginia Edition (VE), I discovered that three slightly different versions of “Life-Line” exist.

  •   The original 1939 version found in VE vol. 31 - “Expanded Universe.” 

  •   A 1951 version found in VE vol. 22 - “Future History-1.”  

  •   And a screenplay version set in 1953 found in VE vol. 45 - “Screen Writings of RAH-2.”  


And then COVID -19 crept in, and everything shut down. Much of my time was spent on zoom calls with the student director and actor auditions. For the longest time, we were stuck in limbo, and that's when I decided to illustrate “Life-Line” as a graphic novel. 


Whereas with the student film, we stuck close to the original 1939 version; when it came down to producing the graphic novel, I decided to include elements from all three versions I found in the Virginia Edition. So if you're a big “Life-Line” fan, you will notice some changes. For the most part, “Life-Line,” the graphic novel, follows the original 1939 version first published by Astounding magazine; however, the ending now reflects Heinlein's 1953 screenplay adaptation. I also included a prologue adaptation from Pinero's reference in “Methuselah's Children,” one of the later stories written by Robert Heinlein and included in his “Future History” Series. 


I hope you enjoy this take on “Life-Line” as much as I've enjoyed diving into the past and exploring the origins of the universe that Heinlein created.

Grok on!

Eric R. Gignac

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