Thursday, September 27, 2012

Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time adapted and illustrated by Hope Larson

The graphic novel adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's classic a Wrinkle in Time.  Meg Murray, along with her peculiar little brother Charles Wallace and her friend Calvin O'Keefe are sent on the strangest of journeys to rescue her father, a physicist who has disappeared.

I expect a lot from my novel adaptations.  If something's already an awesome book, and it's being turned into something else, be that a TV show or a movie of a graphic novel, I feel it should be equally as awesome.  Is that so much to ask?  You have such great material to work with.  How can it go wrong?  Of course, sometimes it does.

I love A Wrinkle in Time and have read it many times.  I was excited to read the graphic novel adaptation, because it seems like such a great book to do in the graphic novel format.  The novel has such beautiful imagery, it was going to look gorgeous on the page.

I think Hope Larson did a great job with adapting the story.  Much of the dialogue is directly from the book. This allowed the characters to remain themselves in their new form.  Hope Larson nicely allowed the characters to explain themselves more to make up for the lack of background information.

What did not work for me was Hope Larson's art style.  It's not that I don't like her art style.  I've read all her other books, and I've enjoyed them.  However, her style is very simplistic.  There is little color or detail in her work.  Sometimes it is actually unclear what is happening in the pictures because of this.  Other times she has to resort to using words where she shouldn't have to.  In one scene, Mrs. Whatsit takes Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin flying up to the top of a mountain to wait for sunset and moonset.  There are two panels, one representing sunset and one moonset.  On the top of each panel is written "sunset" and "moonset" otherwise it would not have been clear.  In a graphic novel I feel like that shouldn't have to happen.  The pictures should be able to speak for themselves.

There was such fabulous potential for beauty and darkness in A Wrinkle in Time.  They travel to other worlds, they see strange creatures.  They see things that are amazing beautiful and incredible frightening.  I didn't get anything of that from Hope Larson's illustrations.  No beauty, no darkness.  I really wish that this adaptation had been illustrated by someone who had a more detailed, painterly style.  I wanted the beauty and the darkness.

It's still a good adaptation, I just would have preferred a different visual experience.

A Wrinkle in Time comes out October 2, 2012.

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