Tag Archives: black and white

Twilight: The Graphic Novel – Volume 1

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Twilight: The Graphic Novel – Volume 1

Art and Adaptation by Young Kim

Spoiler Warning – But why would you read the graphic novel before the canon?

Based on Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Under the auspices of Ms. Meyer, Young Kim has created a beautiful graphic novel that follows our favorite vampire-lover to halfway through the first Twilight novel.  This is the first ‘real’ graphic novel that I’ve read, so it’s a whole new medium for me to take in.  Ms. Kim tells the story fluidly, with illustrations and textual interjections that keep a smart pace.  She manages to keep the true spirit and tension of Twilight, while leaving aside minor details that aren’t vital to the telling of the story.

Judging by the graphic novel itself, Young Kim didn’t seem to draw (punny?) too much inspiration from the movie adaptation, except perhaps that the character Jessica resembles Anna Kendrick from the film series.  Kim’s drawings are really mesmerizing, and portray a more well-rounded Bella than in the films; her facial expressions make her seem like she actually has doubts and fears and is really human.  Drawings of Edward, although not in line with my taste in men, showed powerful contrast between his good and bad days (aka satisfied vs. hungry).  Billy, with  his hat shadowing his warning expression, was incredibly close to what I’d imagined while reading the original text.  Overall, the graphic novel was far less emo and Bella was far less angry than in the movie version; this was an advantage of this volume for me.

Bella and Edward

The story frames use an interesting combination of black and white drawings and edited photo backgrounds.  For instance, Bella is drawn in at the Phoenix airport, surrounded by a [photo of a] real terminal.But what really captivated me about this retelling was the use of color; Ms. Kim used technicolor only sparingly, and to heighten the meaning and delivery of important scenes.  Here are some examples:
1. When Bella dreams about Edward an a mysterious wolf facing off, she sees the wolf in an Earthy, bloody red.
2. Edward describes why twilight is his favorite part of every day, shimmers of topaz[!]-like orange and yellow break through the background sky to lend our cold hero some power in getting the reader to sympathize with his turmoil.
3. The meadow – Yes, the cliches remain, but the strong influx of greens and golds gives us a clue as to what sort of elated joy Bella and Edward felt, finally knowing that they were, for now, safe and happy in each other’s presence.

Although I thought some scenes were a bit brief or glossed-over, I had no problem with continuity because I’ve read the canon and am familiar with the storyline and characters.   So, I recommend this graphic novels to readers who are already well-versed in Twilight-ology.  Note: Even though I’ve listed this under “Children’s Books,” I do it with reservation; just as with the original, Twilight‘s themes, attitudes, and [eventually] content is best for mature/older teens or adults, in my opinion.  Personally, I enjoyed the graphic novel far better than the movie, and on par (granted, in a different way) with the original novel.  For a first graphic novel read, I’m impressed and I look forward to more!

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The Invention of…a New Kind of Graphic Novel

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The Jacket CoverInvention of Hugo Cabret – A Novel in Words and Pictures

by Brian Selznick

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Everyone I’ve talked to who has read this 2007 novel has simply raved.  It took me a few months to take their advice and give it a go, but boy, I’m glad I did!  Not only did it feature beautiful black-and-white drawings and a cool 1920’s setting, but The Invention of Hugo Cabret had a gripping storyline that kept me on the edge of my seat and took my heart for a ride.  In its mysterious European tones, “Hugo” reminds me of the dark memories in Zafon’s amazing Shadow of the Wind, but for children, and with a completely different story.

As the opening scene unfolds through a series of captivating full-page drawings, we see the iconic Parisian skyline illuminated by the morning sun.  The focus zooms to the train station where we follow a young boy down a remote, unlit hallway, through an antique metal grate, and into the veiled world of behind-the-walls mechanization.

Our hero, Hugo, is a pre-teen orphaned Parisian boy whose cunning is only matched by his desperation.  He moves like a phantom as he keeps all of the stations’ [analog! yes!] clocks to astronomical precision, and makes daily rounds to steal food to survive in his covert existence.  All he has left of his family is his clockmaker father’s notebook, filled with drawings of a so-called automaton.  As Hugo struggles to hold to this remembrance in the face of danger, he unearths a past long-buried by its owner.

Close-Up of HugoThe Invention of Hugo Cabret is historical fiction, and was inspired by the true story of a broken, neglected collection of mechanical figurines in Paris that were once used by magicians to impress 19th century audiences.  Additionally, Selznick incorporates characters based on important pioneers in the early film industry, and in doing so, adds another layer of historical intrigue.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a masterpiece not only in its unforgettable storytelling, but in its deft combination of magical text, rich illustration, and occasional original photos as well.  What makes “Hugo” special is how it uses illustrations to do more than enhance a storyline; the action of whole sections of chapters is carried forward my series of illustrations.  According to my future-librarian friend Emily, this  sets Selznick’s novel apart from other illustrated works: the pictures are an integral part of the novel, on par in importance with the text.  I’ve heard from teachers that thanks to its inventive use of interspersed illustrations, the novel captured new young readers who had been resistant to the written word.  Now that’s what I call great children’s literature!  Selznick’s form is practically poetic, and inspired in me a feeling of wonder.  My curiosity kept me turning page after page, until I reached the imaginative ending and the last glimmer of moonlight disappeared into the night.

I highly recommend this amazing work of literature and illustration, for children and adults alike.

Here are some links if you want to learn more:

Official Book Website: contains an impressive collection of information, multimedia, and links related to the history behind Hugo.

Movie Details: Martin Scorsese is directing a (live action?) version of the book, starring Ben Kingsley, that will premiere in 2011.Hugo Cabret

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