Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Putting old books into new bottles of format

Quite a bit of buzz has been brewing about the graphic novel version of Twilight,which got a nice big preview in Entertainment Weekly recently. The first volume is set to be officially on sale by March 16 and while many eager fans will be grabbing a copy along with checking on their pre-orders for the New Moon DVD,I think I'll pass on this one,folks.

As much as I like the Twilight saga,seeing it in this shiny new comic book edition doesn't impress me much. The artwork is lovely(even tho manga is a tad overexposed,in my opinion)and if you feel the need to add it to your personal library,good on you but I prefer to enjoy the print version of the story as I first saw it in my imagination while reading it(not counting the movie adaptations,which are a whole other kettle of fish there).

It's a matter of choice but you do have to wonder if this is a matter of stretching creative boundaries or just recycling tried and true material in order to keep the cash flow alive and kicking.

Other authors have been putting their earlier works into graphic novel form and receiving praise for it like Stephen King with his Dark Tower books and The Stand,a book which is certainly no stranger to re-release. Back in 1990,an expanded edition of the apocalyptic novel came with not only previously edited out material put back it but updated pop culture/time period references and illustrations as well.

That "Complete and Uncut" edition wasn't used for the made-for-TV miniseries of the book but the persistence of The Stand as one of the key King novels to rear it's head up and be taken notice of is something that many writers strive to achieve for their work but don't always get no matter how hard they try. Part of the reason for that is some stories are more adaptable than others when it comes to strutting their stuff in a new venue. Even if it's told in stick figure drawings or as big budget Hollywood film,a good tale can hold up despite the attempts to re-envision the original dream:

Well known books are not only remade as graphic novels these days;some of them are given graphic novel style cover art as an enticement for folks to pick the book up. Penguin Classics has been doing this for awhile now,with the latest being a 25th anniversary edition of Don Delillo's White Noise that has an intro by Richard Powers and newly designed jacket by Canadian cartoonist Michael Cho.

Cho was already a big fan of the book,which made him a great choice to do this revamped cover-yes,you shouldn't judge a book by it's outer wear and so forth,but the illustrations on not only the front and back but even on the jacket flaps convey a sense of what White Noise is about,especially for those of us who haven't read it.

The themes of this modern literary classic(people being overwhelmed by fears in society brought about by technology)seem to be more approachable when wrapped up in such a vivid inviting jacket. Another bonus is that the artwork doesn't dilute the dark content of the book,rather it makes White Noise look like it's worth a walk on the wild side for the reluctant reader:

Making everything old look new again is a classic tactic of pop culture promotion and some folks would say "What's the big deal? If it gets people interested in good books,why not?" A good point,but the problems that can come from that include owning way too many copies of the same book(which increases shelving space issues)and seemingly endless debate over what should be influencing the younger generation to read.

Over the summer,a Twilight inspired cover for Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights raised several eyebrows and caused a few serious eye rolls amongst those who find the works of Stephanie Meyer to be one of the signs of Western civilization heading into decline.

While I may not want a comic book version of Twilight,I certainly wouldn't prevent anyone else from enjoying it or choosing whatever cover they want for their copy of a classic. True,it is more than likely just another way to make money off of the same old thing but thrifty shoppers are more alert to that gimmick in these harsh economic times and it's a good lesson for the next generation to learn as they go.

After all,who among us hasn't grabbed up something we've already gotten or owned before because it came out in a flashy new style? Not always prudent but as they say,it's what is inside that counts. Not an endorsement of reckless spending here,folks,but sometimes a new look to an familiar face can make you remember what you loved about it in the first place. Just try to choose wisely and consider if you really need to re-experience a favorite story in different surroundings or find that loving feeling back in the same place as it was before:

1 comment:

Ladytink_534 said...

I do love the new Twilight graphic novel cover but it's not really my cup of tea. The Stand is one of my favorite books of all time and I like the movie too but the book is the best. Maybe next time I decide to re-read it I'll try the updated version.