Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book Review: A Wrinkle in Time - The Graphic Novel

Like many, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time has sat quite nicely in my mind as one of my favourite childhood experiences in Science Fiction (the other that immediate springs to mind in Monica Hughes 1978 YA novel The Tomorrow City – but to fair I may be biased as it takes place in a future version of my hometown – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) so when I saw the recent Graphic Novel adaptation by Hope Larson I was both intrigued and a little apprehensive. I haven’t read the original book since I first found it in the fifth grade, and I even kept away from the 2003 TV Movie as I felt that the original story was doing just fine in my memory (strangely enough I never had such an issue with The Lord of the Rings, although I may have seen the 70s animated version of it before I read the book, it’s hard to remember).

 I remember reading the original novel at home over a weekend away from school, and honestly as my parents had separated years earlier and I was living with my mother, a story about a couple kids going on a mission to rescue their Dad probably resonated very strongly with me. The cover of the paperback edition I had didn’t display any of the kids, just a picture of a flying centaur and a brooding image of The Man with Red Eyes (pictured right).
Picking up the Graphic novel, I was struck by two things immediately – first of all, the artwork is almost entirely black, white, grey and blue (interesting choice when one of the principle villains is described as “The Man with Red Eyes”) and, by having the three main characters depicted in colour on the cover, I wouldn’t need that colour repeated throughout the book, I simply took their various colouration for granted.

The book itself comes in at just under 400 pages, and I found myself quickly immersed in the story again, and although some of Larson’s choices may not have been mine (I would have made the man with red eyes have red eyes – keeping the rest of the colour choices in the book intact, but that’s just me), but she really did a wonderful job of adapting the original story. I was especially a fan of the sequences where Meg travels across space, how her body is shown spread out across all the panels on a page, bending the rules of what you traditionally expect in a comic (and reflecting how the rules of space travel are also being bent). In the end I really enjoyed the graphic novel and would definitely recommend it to fans of the original or just about anyone who enjoys great Young Adult Science Fiction.

Also I do appreciate that when deciding to take on the project, Hope Larson was actually concerned with “…the people-the people on the Internet-who throw up their hands and moan about their ruined childhoods whenever anyone adapts anything” (Larson, 2012), and as one of those people, I’d have to say that my childhood would have loved this adaptation.

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