Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Holiday Treat from Diana

As a special holiday treat for all of us, Diana Gabaldon has posted on her web site a sample page of artwork and text from the upcoming OUTLANDER graphic novel!

And yes, it includes pictures of Jamie. <g>

I would definitely urge all of you to go take a look. Please note, she's asking that people NOT copy the picture from her site, but you can certainly link to it if you want (as I did above).

My impressions:

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1) I love the way the bleak landscape reflects Jamie's mood, in the bottom frame.

2) I really wish Jamie didn't have his hair covered in these shots! I very much wanted to see if they'd managed to get his red hair correct, and I just can't tell from these pictures.

3) On the other hand, Jamie's eyes look just right to me. The "gull-wing brows" are about what I imagined. And I think the artist got his nose right, too.

4) Murtagh is much better looking than I'd expected from the description in the books. But if he's supposed to be significantly smaller in stature than Jamie, you can't really tell that from these pictures.

5) As for the story...I don't know about the rest of you, but I am intrigued. I want to know why Jamie came back. (Part of me is saying, "He had to come back because he has to be there when Claire shows up!" <g> But of course there has to be a reason that makes sense in the context of the story.)

I'm interested in hearing what the rest of you think. I started a thread on Compuserve, here, but by all means, feel free to post your comments right here on my blog, if you like. And if you have a specific comment or question about the graphic novel that you'd like me to pass on to Diana on your behalf, just let me know.

And please don't worry about putting spoiler warnings in your comments here. <g> The warning I put at the top of this post should be sufficient to alert anybody who doesn't want to know yet.

10 comments:

Antigonos said...

I'm somewhat hesitant to post on Compuserve, because I know that Diana sees it. And I was raised to be polite: if you can't say something nice, don't say anything.

I loathe the pictures; but then I loathe the entire concept of the GN. After working hard to get out of the Romance genre, DG goes for an adult comic book. That's going to put her right back into the "silly little girls" list, rather than "literature-lovers" group, which is where she belongs. Nguyen's first picture of Claire disappointed me greatly; it was classic "anime".

It's not that Jamie doesn't look anything like my picture of him; he doesn't look ALIVE. There's no expression on his face. Murtagh [who looks a lot like Sean Bean, IMHO] is more animated. He appears, as you point out, to be at least as substantial as Jamie in size. And you're right about the hair: from what little we can see, it looks to be flaming rather than auburn. Frankly, if I were a 28 year old Claire, I'd be a lot more interested in Murtagh. Jamie looks like a somewhat smug teenager.

I wonder if Nguyen has ever visited the Highlands. His concept of the mountains is at variance with what I saw in 2000 when I toured the Highlands. It made me think of Peter Jackson's Mordor.

I have great foreboding about this whole project.

Antigonos [a.k.a. Metpatpetet]

Karen Henry said...

Met:

I appreciate your honesty. <g> I agree that it's much more difficult to address these sorts of comments to Diana directly, or even to say something critical on Compuserve where you know she's looking. She can get rather irritable sometimes, when the overwhelming consensus among the fans is something she disagrees with. (For example, she got pretty annoyed at the controversy over Claire's hair in that GN picture back in January, as you may recall.)

I just want to assure you (and anyone else who may be reading this) that you can feel free to say whatever you like on this blog. I have no intention of passing on anything that anybody says here to Diana, unless I'm specifically asked to do so.

I understand how you feel about the concept of an OUTLANDER graphic novel, and I admit I was very skeptical too, at first. (Go look at my blog entry on graphic novels from last August.) I think at this point I'm willing to give Diana the benefit of the doubt. I'm still somewhat skeptical, but willing to be convinced.

By the way, the January poll on my blog will be on the subject of the GN. I had already decided that a few days ago, before this sample page was posted, but now I think it will be a very timely topic. <g>

Karen

Antigonos said...

I've noticed that, on Compuserve, Diana is very much the "doyenne" of the list; when she publishes an excerpt, no one really critiques it, everyone usually lauds it [and with considerable justice], whereas other submissions get the full critical treatment. This isn't a criticism. Diana has obviously given a lot of thought to the "nuts and bolts" of writing--viz. a recent thread on exposition--and so it's not too surprising she doesn't want her conception tinkered with. She is, after all, the mega-successful author and we, if we write at all, are either undiscovered or successful on a much smaller scale. I get the feeling that she doesn't tolerate fools easily, despite the smile, and she is a canny lady. It's easy to forget all those degrees she has.

But if you post bits of your work, you are asking for constructive criticism, which doesn't mean just telling you how good it is. Diana's storyline for the GN may be fine; I just don't like the entire concept of a graphic novel, and am not enthralled with the artist. I keep thinking of story boards some directors do for films...

Karen Henry said...

Met:

"I get the feeling that she doesn't tolerate fools easily"

I have long suspected as much. And I don't think it should surprise anybody who's read her books; after all, Claire shares some of those same tendencies. <g>

As for Diana being the "doyenne" of the Compuserve forum...well, she is BY FAR the most successful published author who hangs out there, she has been there for more than twenty years, and those two factors combine to give more weight to just about anything she says there -- at least when it comes to topics relating to writing, publishing, etc.

That doesn't mean you can't disagree with her, or offer constructive criticism (I have done both, on occasion -- though I take care always to be polite and respectful when I do). If you present a well-reasoned argument, backed up by facts, more often than not she'll listen.

But I also think that when it comes to this graphic novel project, she's going to do what she wants to do, regardless of what any of us think. (Just as she does with her regular writing, for that matter.) She's said many times that she "can't write with the desires of millions of people in mind". So if you told her you hate the idea of the GN, or that you don't like the artist's work, or whatever, in my opinion her most likely reaction would be to sort of shrug it off. Not to minimize your opinion (she's too polite and tactful for that, I think), just to say, in effect, "Oh, well, you can't please everybody."

Karen

Jari Backman said...

Dear Met,

I can understand your fear for the possible pancake with the GN. However, I recognise that there is a possibility to make something really different than just a comic book.

I think that based on her background, Diana has seen an opportunity and I'll bet that she has similar hooks in her sleeve that she uses in the books to get us gasping.

I had 35 years ago comic books that where far away from normal comic books, but then I somehow couldn't find continuance to them. They were only around 50 pages, but it took four or five books to tell the whole story.

Even, if the GN would be in the similar way, it would not be bad. But I do expect much more from the artistic view.

Well, the snippet was great, good and not that good, which means that it is not possible to give a definite opinion.

++ the story didn't go far which means that we are getting it as well thought chunks.

++ the illustrations are great and as Diana told on CompuServ she do mean to have various expressions. My wife also noted that Murtagh was more Jamie-like. So the artist do can make 'faces'.

+ the text and the screens fit well together.

- the kilt bothers me alot. Not only that we can't see the hair, but it doesn't look right. I am not an expert, but still. Let's see Diana's answer on it on CompuServ.

- the mountains look too sharp and not Scottish as you pointed. Now, again, I am not expert here as I've never been in Scotland but your point seems to be in the same direction.

And lastly I have to say that I am eagerly waiting for the GN, which can not be said about the possible movie.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this holiday treat!

I understand that this peek at her graphic novel is all still early on in the process and not the finished drawings of course, so the final will probably have much more smoothness and character to the faces, I imagine. Diana will still have much input into that I am sure. Remember Jamie is famous for hooding/masking his true expression and thoughts, so at this point in the story he may be using that on old Murtaugh, hence the "woodenness" of his features.

I love the idea of the graphic novel and that Diana is doing this. I want very much to see HER interpretation of what the characters look like and the way to do this is via a graphic novel.

Shamrock

Antigonos said...

Jari, if you want to see the Highlands in all their glory, go to www.stevecarter.com and proceed to drool. He's a wonderful photographer. And I can assure you the photos haven't been "prettied up".

Jari Backman said...

Dear Met,

Thank you. I did have some difficulties with the site, but managed to see a lot of great pictures from Western Scotland. And he even has put them on GoogleMaps. Of course the pictures are much smaller. But if you have also GoogleEarth, you can click within GoogleMaps (right top corner) to transfer the link to GoogleEarth, where the pictures are bigger. Or to go to the web site for best resolution.

(hmmph. the software has changed, hasn't it. The answering is no much simpler, but I couldn't figure out, how to come back to edit after previewing the text?)

Karen Henry said...

Jari:

Happy new Year! About the change in the comments window -- that was me, playing around with the settings in Blogger the other day. I like the look of it better this way and thought it might be easier for people to post comments.

If you click Preview and then want to change something, just click on the X at the top right of the little preview window to go back to editing your comment. (It's not very intuitive, maybe, but it does seem to work, at least for me.)

And you'll notice the January dates are up. <g> Thanks as always for your help with those!

Karen

Antigonos said...

BTW, where Jamie would have come ashore, on the Eastern coast, the mountains are much less impressive than in Wester Ross. More like rolling hills. In fact, Inverness is surprisingly flat. For "drama" you want Torridon or Skye.