Thursday, April 24, 2008

Anita Blake, vampire hunter

I don't know why it took me so long to check out the graphic novel version of Laurell Hamilton's Anita Blake series. Sometimes, I guess, I have such strong images of the characters in my mind that it is invariably disappointing when a book is transformed into a film or, in this case, a comic book. And true, the characters in the Marvel version were nothing like the ones in my imagination, but that didn't deter my enjoyment of it one bit.

I loved the artwork. Even though when I read the novels I had completely different images in my mind, it was easy to put them aside and enjoy Brett Booth's interpretations. I loved the lush colors and dark feeling of these illustrations. The books are narrated in the first person, by Anita, so she doesn't spend a whole lot of time describing herself, aside from her height and her dark features. In the comic she is curvy, muscular and very sexy. It was fun to see the clothing the characters wear, which is always described in interesting detail in the books. The artist takes the over-the-top exaggeration of comic book worlds and applies them perfectly to Anita Blake's life, and I just loved how the whimsy of Anita's stuffed penguins and penguin t-shirts contrasted with the grotesque aspects of life as an animator and vampire executioner.

I found the adaptation to be very faithful to the book, with the illustrations supplying everything left out by the narration and dialog. This hardbound collection contains the first six comic books, which make up the first half of the first novel of the Anita Blake series, Guilty Pleasures. The second volume, which will conclude the book, is due to be published this coming August. There is another graphic novel out called Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The First Death, which is a prequel to the series that, according to Amazon.com, was "written exclusively for comics, and featuring the adventures of a younger Anita Blake as she teams up with popular characters Edward and Jean-Claude for a vampire hunt fans will absolutely love sinking their teeth into." Sounds good to me!

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures Vol. 1 by Laurell K. Hamilton, Adapted by Stacie Ritchie and Jess Ruffner-Booth, Artwork by Brett Booth (Marvel, 2007)

Also reviewed at:
The Dragon's Loss
Literary Escapism

11 comments:

  1. i always get broad brushstroke images in my mind of characters in books and sometimes their features change change as i read. it's rare that i get a specific picture in my head of what a character looks like. unless the actor or illustration in the movie or still version is COMPLETELY not how i envisioned the character, i'm usually not that put off. i'm usually more put off about casting regarding the acting capabilities and personality of the actor than i am by the looks.

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  2. I didn't even know this existed!! But now that I think about it, I'm not really all that surprised. The Grapic Novel medium would be perfect for this series....at least in the beginning!

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  3. Molly - I think I'm prone to envisioning people for whatever reason. Whenever I see what a radio person looks like, I'm always completely taken aback because they look nothing like the image of them I have in my mind - and who knew I even had that image in the first place! Silly me. :-)

    Stephanie - you are so right! I was wondering how many books they're planning on doing. I expect my library may opt not to buy the later ones if they continue to follow the books so closely. :-)

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  4. I haven't read any of Blake's work but I pick up this comic series each month for a friend of mine at work since I spend every Wednesday evening hanging out with my best friend who works at the local comic shop. I too really enjoy the artwork. The first image you posted, which was what they used on posters to pre-advertise the series, is my favorite. It is a gorgeous image. I'm glad to hear that you like the series after reading the novels. My friend does as well.

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  5. Carl - I completely agree about the artwork. As soon as I opened this I knew I had to read it. Comics have sure come a long way from the blurry newsprint images of my childhood!

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  6. I do want to get this, I have enjoyed the first 6 novels I have read in the series and do enjoy graphic novels. Thanks for the reminder about this! I know what you mean about visualising charaters, but I like the artwork you have put up here.

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  7. I think you'll really enjoy this, Rhinoa. The dialog is exactly what I remember from the books, and you've seen some of the illustrations. I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of it!

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  8. i actually read them the other way around. i happened to find the comic in the graphic novels section @ the local library and aboslutely loved it. and later, i found out that it was actually an adaptation from a novel and have only recently finished reading the first novel. so, my mind pictured the characters' appearances as similar to the ones in the comic. can't wait to read the rest and see how they adapt the characters for the film!

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  9. Lady Disdain - that's interesting! Did you enjoy getting the interior narrative and other things that weren't included in the graphic version? I've been reading the novels as they've been published, right from the beginning, so I can imagine it was a totally different experience for you. I'm glad it hooked you into the series - it's a lot of fun!

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  10. I finally read this! It's surprisingly similar to the book.

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  11. Ladytink - I was surprised, too, by how closely it followed the book. I think we just got the next one at my library, and I'm hoping to get to it before too long.

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