comics

The Art of Adaptation – A Thoroughly Modern Essay

We’ve all seen good adaptations of things we love and we’ve all seen bad ones. But what, exactly, makes an adaptation good? For the past… pretty much forever… Hollywood, in particular, has been adapting anything it could get its hands on. From books, to tv, to theatre, to video games, Hollywood loves adaptations. The problem is that the adaptations are often not very good at all. You see this with books, like Eragon and the Percy Jackson series and TV shows like Dark Shadows and Video Games like Assassin’s Creed and musicals like RENT and even anime like Death Note and Ghost in the Shell.

The question becomes, why are there so many lousy adaptations? Especially when most of them are based on properties that are really well made in their original mediums? Where is the disconnect?

Contrary to popular belief, there really is an art to adaptation. There are four key things that a good adaptation must adhere to. Respect for the source material and characters, not being a slave to the source material, knowing what to change and what to keep, and telling a story in the most cohesive and interesting way that utilizes the best of what the specific medium has to offer.

Bad adaptations, usually get at least one of those key things wrong, if not more than one of them. So, let’s explore them more in depth and see if we can’t figure out how to go about making a good adaptation.  (more…)

REVIEW: Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension #1 – Alpha

Doctor Who- The Lost Dimension - Alpha 001-000cWhat to say about The Lost Dimension: Alpha? I definitely wish the issue was longer. That sounds like a complaint, but really, it’s more of a compliment because it really is just that good of an issue. In Titan Comics’ latest Doctor Who crossover, The Lost Dimension, multiple incarnations of the Doctor come together in order to save the universe from a mysterious entity known only as The Void. The Void has always existed: “No place. The silent realm. The Lost Dimension.” But the void is no longer empty. The void is hungry. It’s devouring our universe – through time and space! Now, every Doctor must play his part to save… EVERYTHING! Written by George Mann and Cavan Scott and illustrated by Rachel Stott, Cris Bolson, Pasquale Qualano, Elton Thomasi, Klebs Jr., and JB Bastos, The Lost Dimension: Alpha is the first of eight issues in The Lost Dimension crossover event. (As always, spoilers follow)  (more…)

REVIEW: Serenity – No Power in the ‘Verse by Chris Roberson

9781506701820I’m so glad that Dark Horse comics is still continuing to tell Firefly stories. It will forever remain a shame that the show was canceled after one season and the movie, Serenity, didn’t do well enough to warrant any sequels, but at least we can continue to follow the adventures of the crew of the Serenity in comic form. In No Power in the ‘Verse, written by Chris Roberson and illustrated by Georges Jeanty, tough times haven’t ended for Mal Reynolds and his crew aboard the Serenity. When a call for help to find a missing friend takes them to an Alliance post on the Outer Rim, they encounter a new force building strength to fight the battle of the Browncoats–soon leading the crewmembers to question their individual values . . . Discovering that their friend is in Alliance custody and that an Alliance Operative is on the way, Mal concentrates his energy on the problem at hand and strikes an uneasy partnership for a daring rescue. But this is only the beginning of the story. Success will be when the Serenity’s crew makes it off this planet alive and all accounted for . . .  (more…)

REVIEW: Mother Panic, vol. 1: A Work in Progress

checklist-vo-21-06-17-7Better late than never, I suppose. I meant to review the first volume of Jody Houser’s Mother Panic back when it came out a few weeks ago, but life gets in the way sometimes. So here we go. Mother Panic is one of the several new comics from the Young Animal line from DC, headed by Gerard Way.

Written by Jody Houser and illustrated by Tommy Lee Edwards, Mother Panic: A Work in Progress tells the story of Violet Paige, a rich young celebutante with a bad attitude and a worse reputation. No one would ever suspect that this tabloid-fodder wild child has a secret hidden beneath her spoiled heiress exterior—a secret that has driven her to become the terrifying force of vengeance against her privileged peers known as Mother Panic! But even as Violet launches her all-out assault on the rich and twisted, her shaky allies threaten to betray her, and every one of Gotham’s guardians—from Batwoman to the Dark Knight himself—is hot on her trail. Will Mother Panic continue to strike terror into her enemies’ hearts? Or will her violent quest for justice reach an equally violent end?

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Gerard Way’s Still Got it! (Doom Patrol, Volume 1 “Brick by Brick” Review)

61vh2bl7xglIt’s been quite some time since Gerad Way has published any kind of ongoing comic series. The last one he did was The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, co-written with Shaun Simon, and that was back in 2013. So, the world of comics was in need of his return. He’d been teasing the third volume of The Umbrella Academy for years now, and it was beginning to look like we’d never see another ongoing series from him again. Then came DC’s announcement of the Young Animal imprint, spearheaded by Way himself. Along with the imprint would be his first ongoing series in ages, a reboot of Doom Patrol. The big question is: was his return to comics worth the wait? Answer: yes. In volume 1 of Doom Patrol, Way reintroduces readers to the unconventional team of heroes through the lens of Casey Brinke, an EMS driver who is drawn into a series of weird circumstances when she finds the broken body of Robotman. Casey and the other members of the team must outwit a bunch of aliens who want control of a magic, sentient van that can create life. So, basically, it’s a pretty typical subject matter for a Gerard Way comic.  (more…)

A Movie Worthy of an Amazonian (Wonder Woman – Review)

wonder_woman_poster2b252852529If this is what it’s like to be a Greek goddess, sign me up. This movie has it all! Interesting mythology, great characters, amazing fight sequences, a well thought out plot, and an atmosphere that just makes you feel good. It’s exactly the kind of superhero movie that’s both wanted and needed right now. The latest film in the DCEU has finally come out! Directed by Patty Jenkins with a screenplay by Allan Heinberg (from a story by Heinberg, Zack Snyder, and Jason Fuchs), Wonder Woman stars Gal Gadot as the titular Amazon warrior as she makes her way through a war-torn Europe during the first World War. With the aid of Steve Trevor (a US Military Pilot who washed onto the shores of Themyscira, played by Chris Pine), Diana Prince (as she’s referred to in the movie – they never actually call her Wonder Woman) sets out to bring an end to the war before any more atrocities can be committed. But, it’s never as simple as that, is it? (This review strives to be spoiler-free, but for anybody really averse to spoilers, you might wanna wait to read this until after you’ve seen the movie. I’m not gonna go into too many specifics, especially about the latter half of the film, but regardless, this is your warning.)  (more…)

REVIEW: DC Comics’ “The Button” Crossover

Batman-The-Flash-Button-event-DC-Rebirth-teaser-house-ad-2Over the past month, DC Comics has been publishing a crossover between Tom King’s Batman run and Joshua Williamson’s The Flash entitled The Button. This crossover picks up from where the DC Rebirth One-Shot left off, with Batman and the Flash discovering the Comedian’s (from Alan Moore’s Watchmen) smiley-face button stuck in the wall of the Batcave. The crossover follows Batman and the Flash as they try to track down the source of the radiation being emitted by the button while facing off against a series of personal and emotional obstacles thrown their way, seemingly on purpose.

First off, I think it’s important to note that I have not been regularly following either of these comics. I read the first issue or two of Tom King’s Batman run, and it was enjoyable enough; I just got too busy and caught up with life to regularly read them and I have never really read any of the Flash’s solo titles. That being said, this crossover seems to stand apart from whatever ongoing storylines have been going on in the individual titles. As long as you’ve read the DC Rebirth One-Shot, you should be good to go with reading this crossover.  (more…)

REVIEW: American Gods – Shadows #3

496006-_sx1280_ql80_ttd_American Gods: Shadows #3 is the latest issue of Dark Horse Comics’ adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods, adapted by P. Craig Russell and illustrated by Scott Hampton and Walter Simonson. This issue faithfully adapts chapter 3 and about half of chapter 4. In this issue, Shadow encounters his dead wife in his hotel room and travels with Wednesday to Chicago to meet Czernobog and the Zorya sisters.  (more…)

REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

mv5bmtg2mzi1mtg3of5bml5banbnxkftztgwntu3nda2mti-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_How do you follow up a surprise hit like the first Guardians of the Galaxy film and do it justice? Certainly not like this. With the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Marvel has continued their latest trend of cramming way too many ideas into one film and ultimately diluting the impact of the main story they were trying to tell. Written and directed by James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. follows our team – Peter Quill/Starlord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Batista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) – as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand. (Summary courtesy of Marvel.)  Note: this review contains spoilers. (more…)

REVIEW: American Gods – Shadows #2

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American Gods: Shadows #2 is the latest issue of Dark Horse’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel, American Gods. It, essentially, adapts the entire second chapter of the original novel pretty faithfully. In this issue, Shadow and Wednesday continue their conversation at Jack’s Crocodile Bar, Shadow meets the leprechaun Mad Sweeney and has an altercation with him, and Shadow attends his wife’s funeral.

I’ve got sort of mixed feelings about this issue. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s starting to feel like there’s no much actual adaptation going on. It’s pretty much a copy-paste of the original novel with some really beautiful illustrations added in. And that’s not a bad thing, per say. But it doesn’t really feel like we’re getting anything new here.
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