A solid addition to the Manga Classics series of literary adaptations.

FRANKENSTEIN

Aboard a North Pole expedition ship, a gaunt Victor Frankenstein recounts the events that led him to the Arctic in this adaptation of the original 1818 version of Mary Shelley’s classic.

As a youth, Frankenstein had an interest in natural philosophy, which led him to pursue scientific studies at the University of Ingolstadt. His mastery of the curriculum progressed swiftly, and his thirst for knowledge turned toward the arcane—specifically, to the origin of life, which Frankenstein discovered after nights of grisly research and a moment of electrifying inspiration. He applied his discovery to the construction of a massive being, and on one fateful evening, he brought the being to life. What follows is a struggle between creator and creation, each presented as villain and victim and alike in wretchedness. Illustrator Liu vividly depicts Frankenstein’s and the creature’s emotions, capturing the force of their rage and horror. Frankenstein’s eyes are especially expressive, giving greater impact to the scenes in which his face is partially obscured. Visual details are concentrated on the foreground, with panel backgrounds frequently blank, filled by a gradient, or lightly sketched. This serves to draw readers’ attention to the characters, though the simplicity of the background art also detracts from scenes meant to highlight the sublimity of nature. Characters are depicted as White.

A solid addition to the Manga Classics series of literary adaptations. (cast of characters, how to read manga, character design sketchbook, artist's note, adaptor’s note) (Graphic novel. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947808-16-4

Page Count: 324

Publisher: Manga Classics

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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THE ODYSSEY

Hinds adds another magnificent adaptation to his oeuvre (King Lear, 2009, etc.) with this stunning graphic retelling of Homer’s epic. Following Odysseus’s journey to return home to his beloved wife, Penelope, readers are transported into a world that easily combines the realistic and the fantastic. Gods mingle with the mortals, and not heeding their warnings could lead to quick danger; being mere men, Odysseus and his crew often make hasty errors in judgment and must face challenging consequences. Lush watercolors move with fluid lines throughout this reimagining. The artist’s use of color is especially striking: His battle scenes are ample, bloodily scarlet affairs, and Polyphemus’s cave is a stifling orange; he depicts the underworld as a colorless, mirthless void, domestic spaces in warm tans, the all-encircling sea in a light Mediterranean blue and some of the far-away islands in almost tangibly growing greens. Don’t confuse this hefty, respectful adaptation with some of the other recent ones; this one holds nothing back and is proudly, grittily realistic rather than cheerfully cartoonish. Big, bold, beautiful. (notes) (Graphic classic. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4266-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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A sure winner for any reader with a yen to become permanently terrified. Brilliant.

THROUGH THE WOODS

A print and Web comics artist offers five creep-out chillers (four new) with folk-tale motifs and thoroughly disquieting art.

Well-placed lines of terse, hand-lettered commentary and dialogue reinforce narrative connections but are also as much visual elements as are the impenetrable shadows, grim figures, and stark, crimson highlights in Carroll’s inky pictures. Making expert use of silent sequences, sudden close-ups and other cinematic techniques to crank up the terror, the author opens and closes in a dimly lit bedroom (much like yours), bookending the five primary stories. In “Our Neighbor’s House,” a trio of sisters are taken one by one by a never-seen smiling man. In the next, a bride discovers that “A Lady’s Hands Are Cold”—as are the other pieces (seen in close, icky detail) of her husband’s dismembered but not entirely dead former wife. Two cases of supernatural possession (“His Face All Red” and “My Friend Janna”) follow. The collection is capped by a true screamer in which a teenager’s memories of her mother’s tales of a cellar-dwelling monster with a “sweet, wet voice” segue into a horrific revelation about her pretty new sister-in-law. Lonely houses, dark woods and wolves? Check. Spectral figures with blood-red innards? Check. Writhing tentacles bursting from suddenly inhuman mouths? Check!

A sure winner for any reader with a yen to become permanently terrified. Brilliant. (Graphic horror. 13-18)

Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6595-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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