Something Graphic This Way Comes!
While taking a leisurely jaunt through the local bookstore in search of blog-fodder, something caught my eye: a picture of TWILIGHT’s very own Bella Swan.
Now I know this isn’t exactly like spotting a Dodo Bird eating birdseed out of Big Foot’s hand or anything; these days Bella’s mug is about as commonplace as sweaty hands on prom night. From fast food wrappers to full-size cardboard cutouts, you can’t miss her. No, what made this sighting unique was the medium of the picture. This wasn’t the typical photo of actress Kristen Stewart looking all confused and in need of a potty break, this was Bella as I’d never seen her before.
This Bella was sprawled on the grass in a dramatic pose (which if it’s dramatic for a TWILIGHT portrait, then you know it’s got D-R-A-M-A) with those big doe-like brown eyes that we’ve all come to love and obsess over gazing into the distance. More importantly, this Bella was drawn in the Japanese comic art style known as Manga.
Yes, I had laid eyes on the hot-off-the-press TWILIGHT – THE GRAPHIC NOVEL! (Somewhere at this moment Steph Meyer is swimming in her Money Bin Scrooge McDuck style).
I wasn’t exactly shocked to see this latest comic interpretation of a written work. Drawn re-makes of books have been around a long time (yes, there have even been Moby Dick comic books, and the illustrated Bible for kids before that), and they are gaining in popularity of late thanks to the broadminded marketing of authors like Stephen King (The Gunslinger) and Laurel K. Hamilton (the Anita Blake series). In fact, modern literature has morphed into a form that readily lends itself to visual adaptation thanks, at least in part, to the dwindling attention span of readers.
How many times as writers have we been told to cut, cut, and cut some more? Tell only the exciting parts of the story, focus on the action, etc. I’m not bemoaning this advice, as it makes for a more compelling read. I particularly heed this advice as I’m writing for young adults, and they simply won’t wade through dense prose to get to the meat of a story unless their diploma is at stake (and even then maybe not). It just seems that the written form in the modern era has been forced to mimic the more focused story telling of Hollywood, websites, videogames, etc. in an attempt to grab a share of the diminishing free-time of consumers.
I’m a comic book nerd from way back, so I personally think it’s awesome that the graphic novel is finally getting its due as a medium of legit artistic expression. If you haven’t read some the quality stuff out there (like BLANKETS), then I suggest you give it a shot. The writing can be top-notch, and some of the artwork is utterly inspiring. Furthermore, it allows a work to cross over into markets that might otherwise ignore the material. (i.e. Teenage boys don’t usually dig 800 page novels, however, they do like cool pictures and 50 page comic books.) In fact, I might actually argue that graphic novels offer a more authentic interpretation of works of literature than do movies. In general, they have to rely on more words with fewer explosions.
Do I think we need a graphic novel of TWILIGHT? No, but that’s purely based upon the idea that most of the market for TWILIGHT is the same age as the majority of those who purchase comics, and I’m not sure they are going to re-buy a story they’ve read/seen a ga-billion times just because it now has pictures and dialogue bubbles. I’m probably wrong (never underestimate the content devouring abilities of tweens) … I DO THINK authors need to respect the graphic novel and be willing to embrace it as readily as they would a Hollywood adaptation of their work.
On a completely unrelated note, I wanted to say thanks to Claire & Laura for giving me a blogging award. I’m going to pay-it-forward:
The rules of this award are: State 7 truths about yourself, then pass to 7 bloggers.
1. I’m the youngest of 4 children.
2. The first book I read (on a non-school related basis) was Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon.
3. I play the guitar.
4. I’m an amateur artist. I like to oil paint, draw in pencils, and I doodle comic book characters.
5. My favorite color is red (or crimson, see #6).
6. I’m from Oklahoma and love all things from the Sooner state (especially the football team). I live in Texas now, so to say I’m unpopular would be an understatement.
7. My birthday falls on Easter every 15 years or so (not this year).
I am passing this award on to:
Kay @ http://kaytheod.blogspot.com/
Jaydee @ http://jaydeemorgan.blogspot.com/
Tracy @ http://thelosttwin.blogspot.com/
M.L. Mansfield @ http://mlmansfield.blogspot.com/
Chantal @ http://chamahash.blogspot.com/
& of course, Claire & Laura!