Sunday, 19 October 2014

Sunday October 19th, 2014 World Building through Graphic Novels

As graphic novels become more mainstream and popular, the entertainment industry of books, film, and television has seized on the format as a way to tell expanded or more elaborate versions of stories, the same tale from a different character’s perspective, or fill out the details of a beloved character’s life. Not all graphic novel adaptations include new information; like the novelizations of the past, some simply retread the same ground as the original work. However, they are still an alternate entrance to that work’s world and can also act as a memory refresher prior to starting the newest season or picking up the latest installment in a long-running series.

Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books have been popular for years, but the recent television series has made them even more appealing. Maybe you’ve already read the series and want to spend more time with Jamie and Claire, or maybe the thick historical novels look a bit intimidating. Luckily, Gabaldon has provided readers with another avenue into her world: graphic novel The Exile, which tells part of the first Outlander novel from the perspective of Jamie Fraser. This addition is part of the official canon, written by Gabaldon herself and featuring gorgeous illustrations (based on character descriptions, not the show cast).

The Game of Thrones acclaimed television show is based on a series of equally acclaimed fantasy novels. However, fans of the show (or potential fans) who aren’t interested in reading an 800+ page fantasy saga can try the graphic novel. Based on the novels rather than the HBO series, it’s a great way to spend more time getting to know Jon Stark without the time commitment required by the novel.

Unlike The Game of Thrones and Outlander graphic novels, which adhere closely to the books, the two True Blood graphic novels are entirely new stories. Set in the world of the HBO show rather than Charlaine Harris’ book series with character descriptions based directly on the actors, these steamy stories offer more Sookie Stackhouse stories to readers disappointed that both the book and television series have officially come to an end.

Young adult series are regularly adapted to the graphic novel format, generally based on the original content rather than new stories. Erin Hunter’s Warriors, James Patterson’s Witch and Wizard, Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices, Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series and others are all available. Generally, these books are not written by the original author but are still another valid way to explore these titles.

The Star Wars universe is an expansive playground for writers, and there have been many novels and graphic novels set in this world since the theatrical release of the original trilogy. Perennially popular in the Thunder Bay Public Library system, recent graphic novel series include Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi, which takes place 25,000 years ago when Jedis were just beginning to understand their connections to the force, and Star Wars: Legacy II, the adventures of a descent of Leia and Han Solo named Ania Solo. While there is an established continuity in the world of the graphic novels, filmmakers have already stated that the new Star Wars movies will not include the so-called “Star Wars expanded universe.” Nonetheless, if you are a Star Wars fan, the many graphic novels and novels available are a lot of fun to delve into.

Not all graphic novel adaptations are of movies, films, or prose books – a few are from video games! The popular game The Last of Us has prompted a graphic novel, and Halo, Dungeons and Dragons, and other video-game based graphic novels can also be found in our collection. 

Laura Prinselaar

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