P Craig Russell’s take on Neil Gaiman’s Graveyard Book

Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book, Volume 1, graphic adaptation by P Craig Russell (Bloomsbury 2014)

the-graveyard-book-graphic-novel

This is a wonderful translation of The Graveyard Book into comic form. Paradoxically, it’s for an older readership than the novel, though I suppose that’s only a paradox if you think comics are just for children, and no one except newspaper headline writers think that any more, surely.

The reason I say this is for an older readership is that the story begins with a multiple murder, which the novel describes, brilliantly, in almost completely abstract terms, conveying the horror but not creating any images to haunt the young potential reader, but which the comic, while not going all out for the horror, makes completely explicit.

It’s a glowing jewel of a book. The story is full of surprises, the fantasy world is charming and scary, and the artwork – by Russell along with Kevin Nowlan, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson, and Stephen B. Scott – is gorgeous.

If I remember the novel correctly, the episodic nature of the first half gives way to a more plot-driven second half. It certainly feels at the close of this volume as if the overarching story is about to assert itself, as the killer from the opening pages comes back into the picture. I’m looking forward to Volume 2, due out later this year

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