March 24, 2014

Graphic Novels, or, How Comics Help Tell a Story



I was never all that familiar with comic books, or graphic novels, growing up. I knew the characters thanks to TV cartoons, movies etc, but I missed comics as a kid. It wasn't until I saw the first X-Men film that I thought, "This was movie was pretty good! Looking forward to the second one...which means I have to wait." 

Being a fan of reading and books (and reading books based on movies before I see the movie, if possible) I relaized that X-Men was based on (a lot of) comics. So, I started with Marvel's Ultimate X-Men, and likewise with Ultimate Spider-Man. By about between the first and and second Spider-Man film, I was at least knowledgeable of some comics, graphic novels, as well as Comic Book Stores (which didn't have as many sexy girls in them as they do these days...what happened?!). I followed likewise with Batman after seeing how good Batman Begins was, and exploring some Batman trades and graphic novels. 

Before I progress, let me lay some definition down. Comic book: a single issue. The cheapest way to get a 'comic'. It is about 30 pages or so and a few bucks. Trade: a collection of comics (usually six) which are re-printed in one book. They usually contain a single arc. Graphic novel: a self-contained story, such as Watchmen, which may (and most likely) be released as 'issues' beforehand. So, a trade may have Spider-Man # 500-506 for instance, whereas a graphic novel will feature all the comics. Compare my Spidey example to Batman: The Long Halloween. They were released as issues, but now if you buy it as a trade, you get all 13. 

Anyway, comics made me realize that there is a whole world(s) out there beyond, say, Spider-Man 2. Sure, that film is its own entity from the comics, but Spider-Man has been around since the '60s. 

Around the time I was becoming interested in the X-Men comics, I was also beginning to become a fan and appreciate Tolkien (this would have been closer to X-Men 2). It was during one of those trips to the bookstore that I uncovered a different type of trades (and / or graphic novels), which were adaptations. 

I was browsing the Tolkien section, and I noticed that there was a Hobbit graphic novel. Thinking that it was in the wrong section (it was, file it under your Graphic Novel section, bookstore) I continued browsing. 

Within the next year or so, I saw a few more adaptions of fantasy books, or rather, comic book adaptations of short stories / novellas. Some of them include: New Spring (prequel set in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time world, 20 years before book 1), The Wood Boy (part of Raymond E. Feist's realm, fitting in...I'm not sure where), and of course, The Hedge Knight (part of George R.R. Martin's Ice and Fire realm set about 8-100 years before Book One. Still kicking myself for not getting those books...I have the reprints now, though). 

The idea is fantastic. A visualization of a novel / short story that isn't a movie or TV show. After all, in a comic you can do anything. Most recently, I discovered that Stephen King's Dark Tower series had been expanded into graphic noveldom. Except, these stories re-told and expanded upon the novels. So, by reading these, you got more information that just reading the books, whereas with other titles I mentioned, it was the short story as is (or less) visualized.

There is one other instance in which graphic novels, trades and comics are beneficial to the original source material: after a TV show ends. Not necessarily if a show gets canceled, but generally continuing and expanding the mythos of the show. The example I'm thinking of is Buffy Season 8 (the TV show ended at 7 seasons), though I'm sure there are others. 

So, as you can see, comics, trades, graphic novels, funny books, whatever you wish to call them are great for further exploring and expanding upon the story presented in a TV show, movie, novel, or   short story. 

Would I like to see a comic, graphic novel, or trade based upon my own world? Well, right now, I'd really like people to experience the world of Kalvel in print and word, as a novel (and possible future short stories.) I'm not against the idea, though. It all depends on if things work out. 

I'm not sure if it would be considered disrespectful, but I personally would like to see some graphic novels out of films that didn't quite take off, or some books that authors could not complete because they passed away or abandoned. 

Here is my 'wish list' :

- The unpublished works of Robert Jordan
I'm talking about Warriors of the Altaii, and Infinity of Heaven. Wikipedia describes both of these as:

Warriors of the Altaii

Warriors of the Altaii is Jordan's first novel, which remains unpublished; it is 98,000 words in length, and he finished it in thirteen days. Donald A. Wolheim at DAW Books made an offer for it, but revoked the offer when Jordan requested a small change in his contract.[26] When Harriet McDougal was Editorial Director for Ace Books, Tom Doherty hired Jim Baen to work under her, and when Doherty left Ace to start Tor Books in 1980, Baen followed, working at Tor for a few years before starting his own imprint, Baen Books.[28][29] Baen did not have a very high opinion of fantasy, and so he bought Warriors for Ace Books as a science fiction novel. When he left Ace for Tor, Susan Allison took his place and reverted the rights for the novel to Jordan. When McDougal returned to Charleston to start her own imprint, Popham Press, she met Jordan and published his first novel, The Fallon Blood.[30]

Infinity of Heaven

Jordan mentioned several times that he planned another fantasy series set in a different kind of world. He said that it would be a Shōgun-esque series about a man in his 30s who is shipwrecked in an unknown culture which would be similar to Seanchan culture in his Wheel of Time series[31] and world. The books would detail his adventures there and would have been titled Infinity of Heaven.[32]
He said that he would have begun writing these after finishing his work on the 12th and final main sequence book of The Wheel of Time. Jordan said, "Infinity of Heaven almost certainly will be written before the prequels, though I might do them between the Infinity books." Also according to Dragonmount.com, Jordan planned to write some side-story novels, before completely abandoning his decades-long work. Jordan had particularly stressed that this series would be significantly shorter than The Wheel of Time saga (about 6 books long and essentially two trilogies).

Though, sadly, Robert Jordan could not complete The Wheel of Time, and as such, both of these will most likely never see the light of day in any form. Officially.... 

- Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Legacy fully adapted.

OK, so I read some Raymond E. Fesit long ago during my pre-teen and early teen years. I didn't really 'follow' authors, but books I liked. The Riftwar Legacy seemed promising (especially seeing as I heard something related to a computer game). There was going to be five books: Krondor the Betrayl, Krondor the Assassins, Krondor Tear of the Gods, Krondor the Crawler and Krondor the Dark Mage. I was waiting...and waiting...and waiting....after Tear of the Gods for the next book. But it never came. I felt angry and disappointed with the author, especially seeing some new books that wasn't The Crawler, eve though that should have been the next one released (please note that the three Krondor Riftwar Legacy novels came out without any other books interspersed.) However, recently, the author had written a short story called Jimmy and the Crawler which ends the Riftwar Legacy. He used the main points and story he intended to use in the final two books combined in this short story. Nevertheless, I feel cheated and still have a sore spot about raymond E. Feist (he's not my 'enemy' or anything, but this experience has left a sour taste in my mouth) and believe that I will be happy with a full adaptation of all five Riftwar Legacy stories. I understand things happen, but I think this would be a wonderful opportunity if 'Raymond E. Feist', 'Riftwar', 'Krondor', 'comic' or 'graphic novel' get combined in the future.  

If you want to read more about what happened to end the Riftwar Legacy novels, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Riftwar_Legacy and here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_and_the_Crawler . I could easily a blog post just about that. 

That's about it on my personal wishlist, really. I shall close by asking (and please do comment) :

WHAT UNPUBLISHED OR FINISHED MATERIAL WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE ADAPTED IN THE GRAPHIC NOVEL MEDIUM??  



 
   

2 comments:

Ryan said...

Any work done by H.G Wells or Jules Verne.

Insurrbution said...

I am fairly certain that some of these may have been previously, but don't quote me on that.