Leland Myrick’s MISSOURI BOY started out as a batch of poems that he put together and made into a graphic novel. He has a wonderful post about the process over at the First-Second blog:
…the poems that eventually became MISSOURI BOY were written over a span of almost ten years and were quite different in form, ranging from blank verse to haiku. When the idea finally gelled that I would take all these disparate poems and meld them into one coherent graphic novel, I began to think about the process of turning poetry into comics, and in thinking about the process, I began to feel my way toward the kind of book I wanted MISSOURI BOY to be when it was finished. What I did NOT want was a book of illustrated poems. What I wanted was a graphic novel that moved through time and in the end told one large story through a bunch of little moments strung together, the little moments fairly clear in themselves, but the larger story more indistinct as seen through the scattered lenses of the individual chapters.
One of the most important things that happened in the transformation from poem to comic was the loss of words. My editor, Mark Siegel used what became an important phrase for me in the early stages of the book when I was still struggling with keeping the language of the original poems intact—Let the words fall away. And so I did. In my head I saw the words falling away, floating leaves settling on the floor around my drawing table.