Friday, September 12, 2014

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman (graphic novel adaption)

I've been waiting for the release of the graphic novel adaption of Neil Gaiman's award-winning The Graveyard Book for the better part of 2014, and it finally arrived in my hands. YAY! I'd read the actual book a few years back when it was a selection for our annual Middle School Battle of the Books competition. It was quirky, creepy (ish), weird (in a good way), 100% creative, and unlike anything I'd encountered in the past. It had a certain Tim Burtonesque quality about it..and I loved it!

So of course I was excited to hear there would be a graphic novel adaption!

I hoped it would do the story justice. 

For the most part, the graphic adaption was true to the book. Bonus points. Unfortunately, though, it only covers the first half of the book (unlike the graphic adaptions of Gaiman's Coraline and Stardust, both of which contained the complete story). This has become an unfortunate and annoying trend with book-to-movie adaptions, and book-to-graphic adaptions are no less annoying. It's the main reason I refused to read the graphic adaption of the Twilight series, which, I hear, is still in the works. 

Back to The Graveyard Book adaption. Each of the six chapters is illustrated by a different artist. While it is interesting to see how each interprets the characters and settings, it breaks up the continuity and distracts from the story. This is especially jarring when a particular artist's (or artists') style differs drastically from that of the others. Or when an artist's take on a character (or setting) wasn't what I imagined when I read the book. For example, I didn't like how Silas was portrayed. The artists made him way, way too Count Dracula-ish. This was not at all how I imagined him to be when I read the book. Also, I pictured Eliza (the witch from Chapter 4) as being much older (in her 20s), and in the graphic she didn't look much older than Bod. ...but I'm aware that this is a risk the reader takes when reading a graphic adaption of a beloved book (or seeing the film adaption, for that matter).

Fortunately, neither quirk ruined my enjoyment of the book. 

The verdict: A solid effort by the artists to rework this new classic. After all, they had a huge task to tackle. I'll probably end up reading #2 when it crosses my desk. --AJB

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