Saturday, May 22, 2010
FCBD: What About The Books? Part Six
DEL REY SHOWCASE, FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, MAY 2010
Featuring previews of: Pride And Prejudice And Zombies: The Graphic Novel; The Talisman: The Road Of Trials; Odd Is On Our Side; The Last Airbender Prequel: Zuko's Story
The concept of blending in a zombie or monster theme into a re-telling of classic literature seemed like a novel concept to me - - and since my son also shared my interest I picked up trade paperbacks of both PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES and SENSE AND SENSIBILITY AND SEA MONSTERS many months ago. Neither one of us has found the time to read these books yet, so a graphic novel adaptation of P & P & Z is more than welcome - - - especially since the 10-page preview here is so much fun!
Writer Tony Lee takes the original collaberation between legend Jane Austen and current author Seth Grahame-Smith and adapts it for graphic novels. The black and white illustrations by Cliff Richards enhance the story perfectly, and bring to mind memories of some of those classic horror tales from the days of CREEPY and EERIE magazines.
The main focus of Victorian master Bennett is not to find suitors for his five daughters, but to protect them from zombies (here referred to as "unmentionables"). So, instead of impressing the eligible bachelors at a formal ball with their eloquence and grace these daughters demonstrate their father's training by taking down a mob of zombie party-crashers.
I've been collecting the individual full-color issues of THE TALISMAN: THE ROAD OF TRAILS which adapts the first chapters of "The Talisman" horror/dark fantasy novel by Stephen King and Peter Straub. Del Rey takes the first story arc and collects it in a graphic novel available this May.
The story is adapated by Robin Furth, who has done some exceptional work with Peter David on the DARK TOWER adapatations at Marvel. The art (and inks and colors) by Tony Shasteen, Neil Ruffino, and JD Mettler is more than up to the task. If you enjoy the works of King and Straub you will want to see for yourself just how well this is accomplished. If you enjoy horror/dark fantasy and haven't previously read THE TALISMAN, then this series will probably persuade you to make a side trip to the bookstore.
ODD IS ON OUR SIDE is an adaptation of sorts as well. It involves a character created by author Dean Koontz. Young adult Odd Thomas has the ability to see lingering traces of the dead, and finds himself following the path of a deceased Halloween trick-or-treater, who still wanders around in his bedsheet ghost costume and rings doorbells. For ODD IS ON OUR SIDE, Del Rey has reduced the page size and runs two pages of art/story in a horizontal layout per single page of this preview copy. This is co-written with Koontz by Fred Van Lente and illustrated by Queenie Chan. The black-and-white preview notes that this will be available in fall 2010 but fails to inform if that will be a mini-series or graphic novel.
Del Rey uses the same two-pages-per page sideways format for the last preview, a prequel to the upcoming THE LAST AIRBENDER movie this summer from local director M. Night Shyamalan.
The black and white art by Nina Matsumoto has some traces of manga influence but is done American-style. The story by Dave Roman and Alison Wilgus involves Price Zuko being banished and cast out from the Fire Nation. From what I can gather from the short preview (just 6 pages combined) it could be interesting. I'd need to see more. This will go on sale this May, but again the preview fails to mention in what format that will be.
COVER APPEAL; 2.5 POINTS Nice zombie in lace. STORY: 2.5 POINTS. ART: 2.5 POINTS. YOUTH APPEAL: 1.5 POINTS. The zombie theme may draw their attention, but this doesn't seem suited for younger readers. NEW READER APPEAL: 2 POINTS. PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATIONS: 2 POINTS. Needs to link to a web site somewhere in spite of the good amount of ads for Del Rey books. EXTRA BONUS: 2 POINTS. I would definitely recommend readers check out the FCBD preview first in order to determine if they want to follow any of the series.
TOTAL GRADING = 15 POINTS . . . HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Just enough points to get into this category.