Graphic Novels, Manga, Comics…A Rose by Any Other Name

Kaleigha over at Wicked Scribes recently posted about novel to comic book adaptions and whether or not they should be included as part of a series if they are only rewrites (or reinventions) of the original works. Personally, the geek in me is for anything graphic novel related, but I understand the limitations of such works…as well as their strengths.

Art sample from SWORD OF DARKNESS by Kinley MacGregor

Case in point, let’s take a look at some recent (and not so recent) adaptations of some of my favourite books and series by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter, and Nalini Singh.

Marvel has created comic books adaptations of Ms. Kenyon’s novels Lords of Avalon novels, written under her penname Kinley MacGregor. While I personally adored the adaptations, I know not everyone was a fan of the artwork, as well as the fact that some of the minor interactions between characters had to be cut out. On the other hand, the artists for this series did an amazing job using colour and keeping the basic story line and event descriptions the same. Compared to the novels, the sex scenes in the comics were not as explicit, and included more for furthering the plot.

On the other hand, if we look at the manga adaptations of Ms. Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series, the major as well as minor interactions between the character remain intact. Partly, this is due to the publisher’s decision to split each novel into two separate mangas – like the last Harry Potter film was split into two movies. Not to mention the improved level of artwork.

Artwork which is further improved in the Chronicles of Nick series – the third of Ms. Kenyon’s series to be adapted into manga format.

Romance publisher, Harlequin, has also been on the comic/manga bandwagon for a while. They’ve adapted most of the Harlequin Presents line into mangas, as well as recently transforming Ms. Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series into graphic novel format.

I also came across a manga adaptation previously done for Ms. Singh’s novel, Desert Warrior, from Harlequin’s Silhouette Desire line.

Opening from DESERT WARRIOR by Nalini Singh

More artwork from DESERT WARRIOR

Can’t say I’m the biggest fan of the artwork in Desert Warrior – though this is a much older adaptation and the dated artwork is to be expected – but it’s certainly a creative way to introduce new readers to novels. Not to mention if they make a graphic novel adaptation of Ms. Singh’s Guild Hunter series, I’d be the first in line to buy.

Though the artwork varies from novel to novel, all the graphic novel adaptation outlined in this post have strengths. Each of these graphic novels is a unique platform on which to engage new readers, plus the visualized scenes reaffirm the importance of key events in the novels. Graphic novels introduce readers to characters, setting, and story in a new light – strengthening the writer’s vision and founding an incarnation of this world in the readers’ minds.

Could…would you get on the graphic novel bandwagon or has that train firmly departed?

Rika Ashton

(aka Graphic Novel Advocate)

P.S: A special thanks to Kaleigha for inspiring this post!

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