Friday, October 21, 2011

Something Wicked This Way Comes (Graphic Novel Review)

Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes: The Authorized Adaptation    (Hill and Wang, 2011)

It seems to me that a graphic novel must be judged along two fronts--the narrative running through its pages and the artwork filling its panels.  In regards to the former, this volume does an impressive job of adapting Ray Bradbury's classic novel.  The plot is preserved, will all the key scenes translated to the new medium.  Even better, passages of of Bradbury's poetic prose have been interspersed throughout, recreating the atmosphere of the original novel.

Ron Wimberly's drawings, however, are a mixed bag.  For sure, there are some stunning visuals, such as the sight of the Dust-Witch's black balloon crossing in front of the moon.  Yet there's also a sense here of missed opportunity--the carousel is nondescript, and Mr. Dark (his large mustache giving him the look of Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York) is a man only faintly Illustrated, his tattoos conveyed as chiaroscuro blurs.  The biggest problem, though, is that black-and-white just doesn't do justice to Bradbury's dark carnival (if ever there was a graphic novel begging to be splashed with autumnal colors...).

Still, I don't hesitate to recommend this book, which will certainly appeal to fans seeking a new taste of an old favorite.  And for younger readers not quite ready to tackle the full-length novel, this graphic adaptation can meantime serve as a wonderful primer.

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