Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel

A Wrinkle in Time is a classic novel by Madeleine L'Engle, a Newbery Award winner and bestseller for more than 50 years. It is the first in a series of five books about the O'Keefe and Murry families, and it covers a lot of territory including quantum physics, time travel, centaurs, family drama, growing up, and the struggle between good and evil. This book uses the original dialogue and chapter breakdowns of the novel but adds much in terms of striking visuals and fantastic visual storytelling. Making this novel into a graphic novel could have detracted from the original evocative language, removing some of the imaginative work involved in visualizing the characters, situations, and fantastic elements, but this book strikes a great balance between showing and telling. It is an adaptation, but it is also a translation and an homage that leaves lot of room for interpretations from the reader.
As you can see form the excerpts above, the art is expertly rendered, well-balanced and -paced, and powerfully atmospheric. There is a limited color palette, but the black, white, and blue are used to excellent effect. This fine storytelling was done by Hope Larson, past winner of the Eisner, Ignatz, and Doug Wright Awards for her talents. She has created multiple comics and graphic novels including Chiggers and Mercury. Larson speaks about her work on this adaptation in this interview, and this one also has commentary from the book's editor as well.

This adaptation is a best seller, and also won accolades including the 2013 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Teens. Reviews I have read have been mostly positive. Publishers Weekly wrote, "While fans may miss L’Engle’s detailed and evocative prose, her original dialogue, combined with Larson’s deft interpretation, will remind them of their first reading, while simultaneously bringing a seminal classic to a new generation." Kirkus Reviews summed up, "Larson’s admiration and respect for the original text shines through; this is an adaptation done right." Seth T. Hahne offered a contrary opinion, expressing his overall disappointment with the book.

A preview and much more are available here from the book's publisher Margaret Ferguson Books.

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