Friday, September 5, 2014

The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel Vol. 1 Review

The Graveyard Book Vol. 1 by Neil Gaiman
Published: July 29, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads: What happens when "happily ever after" has come and gone?

It Takes a Graveyard to Raise a Child.

Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead.

There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family.

Each chapter in this adaptation by P. Craig Russell is illustrated by a different luminary from the comic book world, showcasing a variety of styles from a breadth of talent. Together, they bring Neil Gaiman's award-winning, nationally bestselling novel The Graveyard Book to new life in this gorgeously illustrated two-volume graphic novel adaptation.

Volume One contains Chapter One through the Interlude, while Volume Two includes Chapter Six to the end.

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Yay!!! My first graphic novel review!! I've been wanting to read a graphic novel for a long time but I hadn't known where to start. Then, this lovely little book happened upon my path and TA DA! problem solved.

I read The Graveyard Book a long time ago when it was first published. My hardcover edition doesn't even have the Newbery Award sticker on it yet. My memory of the story was a little fuzzy though I remembered the basics and, of course, I remembered all the feels about the ending. Those feels, man, those feels.... I had been thinking about rereading it recently but with a TBR as long as mine is, I just didn't get to it. But then, I found this and it killed two birds (a bird and a half since it's only half the book? Maybe...? Don't kill the birds.) with one stone.

I have to say, I really enjoyed the experience of reading a graphic novel. I don't know about other graphic novels, but this one made for a quick light read. Each chapter was illustrated by a different artist but the designs of each one were similar enough in style to work together seamlessly. None of the art or characters were particularly scary even though they consist of ghosts, werewolves, vampires, and ghouls. Though, that was to be expected considering it's technically a middle grade book. My favorite chapter was the one with the Sleer. The way the artist made their dialogue look smoky and how it was designed to wrap around Bod or swirl along the edges of the frame definitely evoked the sense of creepy, disembodied, whispery voices talking in unison and filling the room.

Maybe I'm remembering the novel differently, but one thing that I didn't like so much in the graphic novel edition was each chapter seemed to be its own story. It was very episodic like each artist picked their favorite part of the novel and said "Yeah, I want to design that part" but then they never got together to work out how the parts connected properly. Each chapter had its own beginning, middle, and end which normally I wouldn't mind but, in this, each storyline seemed almost too separate from each other to be able to work together to form one main storyline. This also made the characters rather on the flat side as one thing then another happens and no real character development is done. Silas was by far my favorite character when I read the book and I remember him the most but I feel that even he wasn't really used to his full potential.

I still want to reread the actual novel version of The Graveyard Book - maybe I will around Halloween. The graphic novel edition was definitely a fun read regardless of its semi-disjointed feel. I'll still gladly read volume 2 when it comes out at the end of the month. I'd recommend this to any fans of Neil Gaiman and any newcomers to the graphic novel genre.

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