Thursday, August 28, 2008

Washington Post article on Graphic Novels

Here's an article from the Washington Post on the growing popularity of graphic novels: what they are, how they have been marketed, how they differ from comic books, and so on. It's written from the point of view of a skeptic, someone who has "a personal bias toward prose" (as I certainly do myself *g*).

I'm not sure how I feel about the upcoming OUTLANDER graphic novel. On the one hand, it will be a brand-new story written by Diana herself, full of new insights and interesting tidbits of information about the events of the first book. (Such as Jamie's reaction to the advice of the clansmen on his wedding night. ) For that reason alone, it's probably worth buying, for hard-core fans like myself.

However....

I'm not so eager to see my mental images of Jamie and Claire turned into comic-book caricatures, no matter how well illustrated. Diana's descriptions in the books are so vivid that I have no trouble visualizing the major characters, and I don't necessarily want to have my personal images of them replaced by an artist's conception. Even if the artist is working very closely with Diana to make sure the images are as close to her "vision" as possible.

I also think that the GN is likely to be overpriced. Say, $20 or $25 for a book of 200 pages that can be read in an afternoon. No matter how pretty it is to look at, that's a lot of money for something so (relatively) insubstantial as a "glorified comic book". (Yes, I'm a skeptic too.)

I may well change my mind when it comes out, but for now I am looking forward to it with a sort of guarded enthusiasm. I still want to see it, and will definitely give it a serious look, but I don't think the OUTLANDER GN is going to live up to the hype. Of course, I could certainly be wrong!

4 comments:

Diane M. said...

Hi Karen!

I have to admit that I was very excited when I first heard the news about Diana's graphic novel. I had just finished reading Art Spiegelman's Maus and Maus II. When the only graphic novels I have ever read include one that's earned a Pulitzer and the sequel, well perhaps _my_ expectations are skewed.

You raise some interesting questions, and because of my experience with Spiegelman's work I hadn't honestly considered these points. I do agree that it is yet to be seen if Diana's graphic novel format will live up to my expectations. However,from what I have seen of Hoang's artwork, I may look at the cost as being a good value compared to coffee table books! [g] You may also be surprised by the length and the amount of visual information to be absorbed on each page. Maus took me much longer to read than I expected. Part of that was due to the content. I could only emotionally handle so much at once. Even so, the length and amount of info on each page was significant. I'd be surprised if Diana can keep hers short and sweet!

My biggest fear is that bringing the characters to life in a visual format will interfere with the way I see the characters. I was nervous about that before I listed to the audio books. Yet Davina Porter's talent erased those worries immediately. Let's hope that the talent of both Diana and Hoang will put our worries to rest.

Mitzi said...

I have never read a graphic novel but I am looking forward to Outlander. It will be a treat to see how DG pictured her characters and to get more tidbits about what was going on during Outlander that we didn't see through Claire's eyes.

After reading about this graphic novel, I did a little searching on the web and found a cool website that some of you might like to see. It is a comic strip with great art work and the story line in historical romance-time travel. I'll try to post a link, but if that doesn't work...

http://thedreamercomic.com/

thedreamercomic.com

Just click on Archives and start the book from the beginning...it is an ongoing story.

I don't think it is anything like the GN that Diana's doing, but fun none the less.

Thanks Karen for all your hard work. I know I'm going to love your Blog Site.

Mitzi.

Antigonos said...

I am MOST EMPHATICALLY NOT looking forward to the GN. You made most of my objections for me--and add to that, that shipping such a book to Israel will almost certainly double the cost, and then I'll likely have a tussle with Customs as well.

I was a totally obnoxious kid who never read an Illustrated Comic, but went to the original book instead. I don't want the equivalent of an illustrated short story, I want a huge, thick book into which I can sink my teeth!

BTW, you know me as Metpatpetet, Karen!

Karen Henry said...

Antigonos (or should I call you Met? :-) yes, I recognized the name at once and knew it was you):

Glad you found my blog. And like I said, I'm a skeptic on the GN, but willing to be convinced. It might be terrific; it might be a colossal waste of money. Way too early to tell yet, if you ask me.

BTW, if you ever need something shipped from the US to Israel, contact me and I'll do what I can to help. As I've mentioned to you, my sister and her family live in Katzir (near Hadera) and I am well aware of the hassles involved in mailing packages overseas.

I don't get there very often (once every couple of years, usually; my last trip was for Pesach 2007) but who knows, maybe we can get in touch on my next visit to Israel?

Karen