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Jonathan Kellerman

Discussion Post: Graphic Novel Adaptations- Yes or No?

Welcome to my first discussion post, in which I hope to debate graphic novel adaptations!

When we are first introduced to a chapter book, is the subsequent graphic novel adaptation done well or not? And in fact, for some readers the graphic novel may actually be the first and only introduction  to the literary work, so how the work is portrayed is extremely important.

To start off, I read graphic novel adaptations of classics that I have read in the past, so I could compare the two. While Fahrenheit 451 is the authorized adaptation, as it was published while Ray Bradbury was still alive, the other two obviously are just some of many adaptations that have been written and/or drawn over the years.

Fahrenheit 451– originally by Ray Bradbury, adapted by Tim Hamilton

The book includes an introduction by Ray Bradbury, which gave it an excellent gravitas as you then moved into the illustrated story. This adaption was solid, and knowing that it was approved by Bradbury helped me feel that it represented what the author was trying to convey in his initial novel.

Wuthering Heights– originally by  Emily Brontë, adapted by Sean M. Wilson

I have to admit I have not read the original in all it’s entirety, for my hate for both Catherine and Heathcliff prevented me from reading every word. But I read most of it, enough to know the broad plot lines. This adaptation further cemented my thoughts on the story. I hated almost everyone in the story, except for the maid Nelly. Thus, this was a solid representation with Gothic illustrations that matched the mood of the story.

Spot on commentary from Kate Beaton in the book Hark! A Vagrant. What was the deal with the Brontë sisters trying to make complete assholes into romantic heroes???

The Picture of Dorian Gray-originally by Oscar Wilde, adapted by Ian Edington & Ian Culbard

This was a rather short adaptation of the morality tale, so it ended up being more of an introduction than a complete retelling of the story. Some of Wilde’s biting wit made it into the story, but the black and white illustrations were rather simple and cartoonish. I hope that after reading this adaptation, readers will then move onto the original.

Kindred– originally by Octavia E. Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy & John Jennings

I had not read the novel before I read the graphic novel, but it was adapted so well, that I WANT to read the chapter book. Now that’s a sign of an excellent adaptation, that instead of replacing the original, I want to further delve into the story. While not done until after Butler’s death, this version was done with her estate’s permission.

Silent Partner & The Web, originally by Jonathan Kellerman, adapted by Michael Gaydos & Andie Parks

I have been reading author Jonathan Kellerman’s books for years. He has a long running thriller series centered on psychologist Alex Delaware and his cop best buddy Milo Sturgis and the crimes they solve. As the series had been going on 30+ years, I assume the author wants to reach out to a new audience, thus two of his previous novels have been adapted into graphic novels with a third in the works.  However, these versions are HORRIBLE, as the two adapted were were among his early, most convoluted books. This was obviously done with Kellerman’s approval, but has not received the best feedback in other’s reviews.

So what are your thoughts on graphic novel adaptations? Should classics be adapted, once their creator is dead? What about more modern books, done with the author’s permission and collaboration? Discuss!

-Nancy

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Top 5 Wednesday: Fandoms You Are No Longer In

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. This week the prompt is about writing about fandoms we formerly were super invested in but now are no longer a part of.

Twilight series– Believe it or not, as a grown woman, I actually liked the first novel. My book club choose it, and they had to persuade me to pick it up. As much as I would like to pretend I didn’t like it, I was sucked into the vampire and werewolf saga. As I was firmly entrenched with Team Jacob, the second book gave me a slim hope that Bella would choose him over Edward. By the third book, it was obvious Jacob had never stood a chance, plus I was unhappy about the ridiculous plot and Bella’s moping. The fourth book was a pure hate-read, but I was determined to stick it out and see how everything resolved. It was a flippin’ waste of my time.

Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series– I have read 40+ of Jonathan Kellerman’s books, over the course of two decades. Most of the novels are thrillers about psychologist Alex Delaware and his cop buddy solving complex crimes. But after 31 of these books (plus some other standalone books), I can not stand his character anymore. The books are no longer unique, and he repeats the same tropes over and over. Both my husband and I used to read the books and discuss them afterwards, so I had a hard time giving the series up, but last year I decided enough was enough.

Twin Peaks– I am on the fence about this series. A friend of mine had the series (on VHS!), so I binge watched the two seasons and the movie ten years ago. The first season was excellent, and I loved the mystery about who killed Laura Palmer, and the odd supernatural elements to it. The second season went off the rails, and the movie didn’t match the tone of the original series, but it still retained enough atmosphere for me to think of it very fondly as a whole. When I heard of the revival, with many of the same characters, I was excited. But four episodes in, I am a very unhappy camper. Lynch’s psychedelic ideas are just too way out there for me, and there has been little reintroduction to the characters of Twin Peaks that I had loved so much.  Many people are waxing poetic about it, but I just don’t get it. I will watch a few more episodes, but…

Old Man Logan– I really loved the first volume penned by Mark Miller and illustrated by Steve McNiven. I thought it was a fresh way of telling the Wolverine story and rebooting the franchise to reflect a world weary Logan. Obviously the book was a hit, as the movie Logan was based somewhat off this story. But eventually the artist changed, and worst of all, the story was moved to the Warzones/Battleworld universe. I was not happy with the A Force: Warzones series, for I think it is a lazy device to explain an anything goes plot. I refuse to read any book set there.

Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn/Chee series– Tony Hillerman wrote an amazing mystery series set in the Four Corners region about two Navajo police officers. The books were respectful of the reservation inhabitants and there often was an archaeology subplot(fun fact- anthropology was my minor in college). This was another series that spanned decades, but by his 18th book, the series was limping across the finish line when the author passed away. His daughter took up the mantle and has continued writing the series, even adding in Chee’s wife to reflect a woman’s perspective. Anne Hillerman is a solid but uninspiring writer, and the southwest flavor is gone from the series. I gave two of her books a chance, but won’t be continuing with further novels by her.

Giving up on a former loved series is hard, and I often drag it out longer than I should. What are your thought on the fandoms I mentioned?

-Nancy

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