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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

Lying in Wait
Liz Nugent
Progress: 186/310 pages
The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro, Daniel Kraus
Progress: 72/313 pages
To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines
Judith Newman
Princess Prince
Tomoko Taniguchi
Progress: 310/336 pages
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness
Peter Godfrey-Smith
Progress: 41/255 pages
FREE: Locke & Key
Tatiana Maslany, Audible Studios, Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez, Kate Mulgrew, Haley Joel Osment, Full Cast
Progress: 91/806 minutes
Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes: The Authorized Adaptation - Ray Bradbury, Ron Wimberly [NOTE: I picked this up as an ARC at a conference.]As far as I know, I haven't read the novel this was based on, and I haven't watched the movie based on the book, so I can't say how it compares to either one of those versions. I can say that I really didn't like this graphic novel.It's possible that I would have liked either the book or the movie just fine - I thought the story itself was the best part of the graphic novel. There was something slightly creepy and strange about the characters and situation that reminded me of some of Neil Gaiman's writings. Unfortunately, I found myself wishing all too often that I was reading one of Gaiman's Sandman graphic novels instead of this.Although I did think the story was interesting, it had its problems. Quite a few things were mentioned and then dropped, something that I don't think would have been as much of an issue if this graphic novel had been a bit longer. For instance, the boys' teacher, Miss Foley, makes several appearances. She almost gets trapped in the house of mirrors, and her nephew turns out to actually be a member of the carnival, made younger through the power of the merry-go-round. I don't believe any explanation was ever given for why Miss Foley, in particular, was targeted. At any rate, she shows up again later and then disappears. Nothing is ever said about her again. The same sort of thing happens with the lightning rod salesman.Another one of this graphic novel's strong points was its characters. Again, some of the little details about them made me think of Neil Gaiman's Sandman graphic novels, in which even minor characters tended to have interesting layers to them. Jim's mother only makes a brief appearance, but during that time we learn that, of her three children, Jim is the only one still alive, and we learn that Jim's father is gone. I imagine Jim's surliness and desire to be older is probably due, at least in part, to a feeling of being smothered by his mother.Even Will's father is interesting. He's basically a decent man, but he, like Jim, has a weakness that the carnival can exploit. Whereas Jim wants to be older, Will's dad longs to be younger. He must have had Will when he was in his late thirties or early forties, and he regrets not being able to play with his son the way some other dads can.Although many of the characters have a spark of something interesting, it's a fairly small spark. Like I said, this graphic novel seemed to be a tad too short. The story felt rushed, and so did the characters, but everything was intriguing enough that I might have to see about reading the book sometime. Happily, we have Something Wicked This Way Comes at the library I work at, so I could easily check it out sometime and read it, no ILL necessary.So, the story and characters were ok. I wasn't a huge fan of the way characters spoke, which did not seem at all like the way real people might speak and made it a little hard to feel for the characters as though they were people. Where this adaptation really fell flat, though, was in its artwork, not a good thing for any graphic novel.I wasn't a huge fan of the artwork style. I gave it a pass, though, because its slight strangeness fit with the slight strangeness of the story. I tend to prefer artwork that is prettier and presents characters in a more consistent way. I can't say that Wimberly's artwork is very pretty (which might not have worked well for this story anyway). I also can't say that the characters were very consistently drawn. That, in particular, was a bit of a problem, since Jim and Will kept saying how they recognized adults who'd been made younger by the merry-go-round because of how their eyes looked - if it hadn't been for them saying that these children were the adults, I wouldn't have been able to tell who they were based on their looks. Also, people didn't necessarily look the same from one panel to the next. I might've been more willing to forgive this if there hadn't been so many other things about this graphic novel that I didn't like.What other things didn't I like? I could make a whole list. The flow from one panel to the next wasn't always very good - it wasn't always clear to me what path my eyes should be following, and, in a few instances, I read some word bubbles in the wrong order because of the way they were situated. Then there were my issues with how the text and artwork worked together...or didn't work together. In a good graphic novel, the text and the artwork are parts of a whole. I had a feeling that this graphic novel was too wedded to the original text - I'd be willing to bet that all or most of this graphic novel's blocks of narrative text were taken straight from Bradbury's novel. A little of that is ok, but it felt like whoever was primarily responsible for adapting this work into graphic novel form (Bradbury? Wimberly?) was either too fond of the original text or didn't trust the artwork enough. It's also possible that all that narrative text was meant to act as a crutch, to fill in for what the graphic novel wasn't long enough to get across.While I was reading, though, "lack of trust in the artwork" and/or "over-fondness for the original text" seemed like stronger possibilities. When Will and Jim watch the merry-go-round in action for the first time, the panels show Mr. Cooger on a merry-go-round horse, getting younger, while the text describes Will and Jim's reactions and what they are seeing. I know that Mr. Cooger got younger because the text says he went from an adult to seventeen, sixteen, and finally to twelve years old. Without the narrative text, I probably would have assumed that the merry-go-round had turned Mr. Cooger into an entirely different person who happened to be a dwarf, because he sure didn't look like a 12-year-old to me. Of course, since the artwork was so inconsistent, this wasn't true all the time - sometimes he looked like a small adult, and sometimes he actually looked somewhat like a child.Later, when Jim and Will bring a police officer to the carnival in an attempt to help Mr. Cooger, who had been greatly aged by the merry-go-round, the narrative text describes several of the carnival's workers. I at first thought that the blocks of text had been placed near the people they were describing, but I couldn't even find any of those people in the artwork.Not only did the text sometimes describe things that weren't shown in the artwork (and that probably should have been), sometimes the text and the artwork were completely at odds with each other. The best example I can think of is when Will's dad's hand gets crushed. At first, the hand that gets grabbed and crushed is his right hand. Then, in the next panel, you can see that the hand that is actually being crushed is his left. The text specifically says that it was his left hand that was crushed, and in some panels it is indeed his left arm that he grips in pain. Then, in one panel, he's griping his right arm. Later, Will's father's right hand is shown to be bandaged. So, tell me, which hand was it that he really hurt? Either way, the pain and damage can't have been that bad, because he had no trouble holding a harmonica with his bandaged hand. I've never dealt with graphic novel ARCs before, so I don't know if it's possible that these artwork mistakes might be fixed before the book is released. These kinds of errors certainly aren't as easy to fix as typos in the text.Overall, I thought this graphic novel could have been much better. Even when it was at its best, all it accomplished was to make me wish I were reading something else, either the original book, which I suspect was quite a bit better, or any graphic novel that it reminded me of.(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)