While I think that it’s great that publishing companies are trying to get the younger generation more interested in reading, I am generally not a fan of re-working/re-writing classic literature for a younger audience. My worry, along with the worries of many librarians and teachers, is that instead of reading the actual novel, the person in question will think they can get “the gist” of the original work by picking up the Cliff’s Notes, abridged, or graphic novel version of the story.
However, I did like this adaptation of Mary Shelley’s horror classic, Frankenstein. I felt that it would make a good supplement to the original work, especially for those students and kids who may learn visually and may get overwhelmed by a lot of words on a page. The graphic novel sticks closely to the events of the book, using period language, but simplifying it for the younger audience. It was a smooth read—obviously missing some of the nuances of the original (adapted versions usually do), but getting the essence of tale. There isn’t too much gore and doesn’t get too overly frightening—which is good for the younger set of readers who are interested in the story.
The layouts of the pages felt a little busy, but it was still easy enough to follow. Though the inks are well-done and the scenes and perspectives are accomplished, the addition of color causes the inks to look sloppy instead of stylized. Black and white would have gone a long way for a title like this, especially when one considers the famous (and many) film adaptations of the story from the 1930s. If you imagine it without the color, the images become a lot more dynamic.
All-in-all, this is a good adaptation of a well-known story, one that should capture the interest of older children that are curious and eager to read more horror.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
by Lloyd S. Wagner and Mary Shelley
Art by Naresh Kumar
Campfire Graphic Novels, 2010