Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Something Wicked This Way Comes: The Authorized Adaptation (2011)

Author: Ray Bradbury | Illustrator: Ron Wimberly | Page Count: 144

'She was blind, yes, but special blind.  Just as they felt that balloon sift down like an autumn rain, so she could feel their souls.  Each soul, a vast warm fingerprint.'

I've covered the original novel HERE, so instead I’ll focus solely on whether or not I feel the adaptation is successful.  The short answer is yes, it mostly is.  It retains a lot more descriptive language than is normal for a graphic novel but that’s a good thing because that’s where the magic really happens in Bradbury's prose.  His worldbuilding is often more beautifully realised than his dialogue.

The narrative accentuates the differences in the two boys more than the novel did but that was necessary so that the second half of the story could do its job properly in a shorter space of time.

It was crucial that Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show was given the kind of attention it deserved, from the shape of the tents at 3 in the morning to the ominous flyers that herald its arrival.  It is; there’s only one thing I’d have did differently but it's likely a publisher would have heart-failure at the idea.

I suspect the most divisive thing about the book will be the art style.  It’s wholly B+W (grayscale).  There’ll be people who see the wobbly lines and exaggerated perspectives and decide that Ron Wimberly simply can’t draw.  But he can.  There are numerous tells throughout suggesting that his style is purposeful.  Why then do his characters look freakish, and his lines not always meet?  Will and Jim are adolescents; they’re still growing; they can climb trees and trellises with ease but they’ll still trip over themselves on occasion because their limbs are in a constant state of growth.  I believe Wimberly was hired because he was the correct man for the job, able to express visually the nuances of the world that Bradbury described—the world as seen through the eyes of the two youths.

The ill-defined people on the street aren't lazy constructs, they’re shadowy and flat for a reason: they’re aged and don’t feature in Will and Jim’s life as anything other than background.  It’s a hugely subjective style but it’s one that echoes my own feelings about the original text in many respects.  A lot of people will feel the polar opposite but hating something is equally as valid as loving it, because if we all wanted the same thing we’d still be painting on cave walls.

3½ pricked thumbs out of 5

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