Adaptations as Graphic Novels

Original graphic novels are a fantastic storytelling medium,serving as the inspiration for a number of successful movie adaptations.  Comic books are natural storyboards, a visual presentation that shows the reader what might appear on the big screen, limited only by the creator's imagination.  Some books have been adapted into graphic novel form before making the leap to cinema. 

Here are some:

Artemis Fowl and The Arctic Incident -- Although Eoin Colfer's novels are bestsellers for a reason, it wasn't until I saw the graphic novel adaptations that I realized what a cool movie series his stories could be.  Adapted for the comic book form along with co-writer Andrew Donkin, the tale is compelling from the first frame until the end, and the art by Giovanni Rigano and Paolo Lamanna is superb.  These comics retell the first two books, and they're so good that I hope the others in the series become graphic novels too: The Eternity Code, The Opal Deception, The Lost Colony, The Time Paradox, and The Atlantis Complex.

Double the Odd -- Fans of Dean Koontz's phenomenal hit Odd Thomas series, about a teenaged short-order cook who can communicate with the dead, will be thrilled to read not one, but two, new adventures of the beloved character in this single volume, written by Koontz, Fred Lente, and artist Queenie Chan. The only downside is that the manga-style artwork is black-and-white, but it's still fun to read.  The two stories in this graphic novel combo, "In Odd We Trust" and "Odd Is On Our Side," fit nicely with the Koontz's books, the original Odd Thomas and all of its follow-ups: Forever Odd, Brother Odd, and Odd Hours.

The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle -- Jim Butcher's novels about a wizard who happens to be a paranormal investigator have captivated readers, and the live-action Syfy series adaptation was a minor hit, but to be honest the graphic novel better captures what I envisioned the look and tone of what I imagined the characters and storylines to be.  For some reason I have an easier time suspending disbelief when reading prose fiction or when looking at illustrations, no matter how far-fetched the plots, than most live-action television series.  Ardian Syaf's art is at times whimsical and chilling, and always fun and action-packed.  If you enjoy any of the Dresden tales (Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Death Masks, Blood Rites, Dead Beat, Proven Guilty, White Night, Side Jobs, Small Favor, Turn Coat, Changes, and Ghost Story),  you'll definitely like Welcome to the Jungle.

Killing the Cobra: Chinatown Trollop -- Writer Mario Acevedo is an amazing pulp fiction writer whose novels have been guilty pleasure bestsellers with terrific titles (The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, X-Rated Bloodsuckers, The Undead Kama Sutra, Jailbait Zombie, and Werewolf Smackdown).  His hero, Felix Gomez, is an Iraq war veteran and a vampire private detective, hunting zombies, aliens, and bloodthirsty shapeshifters.  His graphic novel is a nice new adventure with simple but fine artwork by Alberto Dose.

Maximum Ride: The Manga -- I haven't read everything that James Patterson has written, but I do enjoy his Maximum Ride series (The Angel Experiment, School's Out Forever, Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, The Final Warning, Max, Fang, and Angel).  The manga-style adaptation by NaRae Lee is well done, with a lot of whimsical moments amid the intense action and plot twists.
Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief -- This comic adaptation of Rick Riordan's kids' book is in many ways better than the live-action movie version that did mediocre business at the box office.  Maybe owner Disney is hoping the graphic novel makes people crave more motion pictures based on the other books, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian.  The graphic novel, written by Robert Venditti, flows a lot better than the movie and the art by Attila Futaki and Jose Villarrubia actually makes the fantastical elements of the story of mythological deities and creatures seem more grounded and, dare I say, believable than the special effects-heavy film.

Phoenix Without Ashes -- This is without a doubt my favorite and the best evidence of graphic novels' vast potential.  It is a retelling of Harlan Ellison's disastrous The Starlost TV series from the 1970s and through Ellison's brilliant words and Alan Robinson's amazing art, it brings to life in multi-color illustrated glory what could have been.

True Blood: All Together Now -- I'm cheating by adding this graphic novel to this list.  It's more inspired by the television series than the original Charlaine Harris "Sookie Stackhouse" novels, but it's really, really good.  Written by Alan Ball, David Tischman, and Mariah Huehner, and drawn to perfection by David Messina, it's page after page of good stuff.  If the HBO series doesn't do it, maybe the graphic novel will inspire True Blood fans to hunt down and read the books: Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, Dead to the World, Dead as a Doornail, Definitely Dead, All Together Dead, From Dead to Worse, Dead and Gone, Dead in the Family, and the upcoming Dead Reckoning.

Witch and Wizard: Battle for Shadowland and Witch and Wizard: Operation Zero -- James Patterson has become a fiction-writing factory, churning out bestsellers as fast as the publisher can print them.  He gets some help from his co-writers, in this case Dara Naraghi, who contributes a decent couple of tales about Patterson's magical sibling characters, Whit and Wisty, who travel the world ruled by the evil dictator called "The One."  The art by Victor Santos is colorful and cinematic, if a bit cartoony.  If you like Patterson's novels, including the original Witch & Wizard and its sequel, The Gift, then you'll probably get a kick out of these adrenaline-fueled new chapters, set in-between the two.

These graphic novels are an excellent sneak peek at what live action adaptations of these properties might look like.  For fans of the original books on which they're based, they're worth checking out.

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