|The cover for the original Moon Called.|
I have a special place in my heart for comic books (and several boxes of now vintage Archies in the basement) but I haven't actually liked reading them since I was 14 or so. I was always frustrated with the delivery system. You get a taste of a story and then it's cruelly ripped away from you with promises of another taste next month. I wanted more.
Dramatization of my relationship with comic book publishers.
So, I was excited when I came across Dynamite Entertainment's adaptations of two popular urban fantasy books, the first from Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson series, Moon Called, and the soon-to-be published graphic novel version of Sookie Stackhouse author Charlaine Harris's, Grave Sight. It was a chance to enjoy comic books again.
Adaptations can be tricky. What works in one medium, like a novel, doesn't necessarily translate easily to another, like a movie screen or a comic book. It's difficult to tell the same exact story the same exact way and have it actually be entertaining. Thoughts running through a character's head make for really boring exposition in visual mediums. What's important, is capturing the same spirit of the tale when adapting a novel. Then, you can actually improve on the work, using visuals to add another layer to the story-telling.
|One of Moon Called's covers.|
Moon Called is a bare bones graphic novel about mechanic Mercy Thompson, a woman with the ability to transform in to a coyote and her place as an outsider in the werewolf world. It's burdened with mostly exposition. The artwork is run of the mill with almost featureless backgrounds and little to no reference to how characters are described in the original work. Mercy is WASPy as can be with no signs of her half Native-American ancestry, not even close to the passing nod featured on the graphic novel's cover (by which I mean having black hair. It's light brown inside the cover.) All of the male characters look like one another except for varying shades of hair color. Bran, the werewolf leader always described as looking like an average young human, was drawn as studly as the rest. The spirit of the novel was absent, too. Light-hearted Mercy, one of the main reasons I enjoy the series, was gone. I am happy to offer the one positive I noted as the story went on, the basic artwork, the features of the characters, did improve in later chapters.
Grave Sight will be out in two weeks on June 7 and Moon Called is in stores now. I recommend picking up Grave Sight if you're a fan of comic books or of Charlaine Harris's work.