Turning Novels into Comics

As I’ve made my way across China, I’ve been reading Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead, both by Orson Scott Card. If you haven’t read these books, I highly recommend them both, especially because you won’t understand a lot of what I’m talking about. It turns out that there’s a movie in the works. I thought about that for a while and I’ve decided that Ender’s Game was not made for the big screen. The book depends too much on the Battle Room, which would be hard to replicate, and a lot of the best dialogue takes place in characters’ heads. None of these are contusive to a good film.

What they are good for however is comics. Think about it. The artist could draw a weightless environment easily and characters are always indulging in lengthy internal monologues in comics. . I am going to propose that the best medium for a retelling of “Ender’s Game” is as a web comic.

Some people may say, “Why bother retelling the story of Ender’s Game? We already have the book.” To you I say, That’s part of storytelling. How many movies, video games and television series are retelling stories that you can already find in books? A butt load, that’s how many. And why are there so many? Because A) people are too lazy to read this days, B) it’s really hard to come up with a really original plot and C) with each retelling, the story changes, it evolves. That’s why I can enjoy the book version and the movie version of the same story. In the hands of the right people, the exact same story can be told in different ways that perfectly matches the different medium.

I think there big potential for a web comic retelling an already established story. By no means would it have to be Ender’s Game. There are many books and movies that could work. It would hopefully bring new people into web comics and bring more respectability to the art form. Naturally this would have to be done legally, no making comics from other people’s intellectual property without permission.

So what do you guys think? The next big thing? Really dumb? Is it even a new idea? Are there strips out there that are doing this as I speak? What books do you think would be good in comic form?

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6 thoughts on “Turning Novels into Comics

  1. I could see an Ender\’s Game comic. And it would probably rock, particularly for the reasons you state.

    But the practice of adapting books to comics should adhere to the same principals of books to movies or books to stage plays or stage plays to movies, etc, etc: Adaptation should be reserved for the occasion where the story can really do something different or better in the new medium. Same goes for remakes. Otherwise, there\’s no real point.

    On a side note, pertaining to Orson Scott Card and comics, y\’all should read Ultimate Iron Man. It\’s written by Orson, and it\’s pretty damn good.

  2. I agree with what Phil said in regards to how to approach it.

    On the other hand, we have more than enough comics that exist solely on other people\’s ideas, especially online. Hollywood wouldnt suck as much if they had a new thought every once in a while. I say comics (web or otherwise) should avoid the same trap.

  3. Phil: What? You post on the blog?

    You\’re exactly right on the rules for good adaptations. Adapting out of nothing but laziness as bad as it is prevelant in Hollywood. I think making a web comic out of a novel would be a big enough project that people would think twince before doing it. Hopefully this would make people only adapt if they have something to add to the story.

    Ultimate Iron Man is now on my list of things to do when I get home.

    William: I agree that too many movies are bad remakes of books and stuff. I just think there have been enough good remakes to warrant giving it a try. Atleast on the web it\’s not a 12 million dollar waste like it is in Tinsel Town.

  4. I think it\’s an awesome idea. Does anyone remember those old CLASSIC ILLUSTRATED comics?

    I read the CLASSIC ILLUSTRATED Moby Dick and it made me want to read the novel.

    Anything to interest the kids in reading.

    Imagine a Lord of the Rings series of Graphic Novels. That would be pretty epic.

  5. Yeah, a LOTR graphic novel set could be pretty killer. And include details they left out of the movie.

    But let\’s hope it doens\’t get picked up by Tokyopop.

  6. I always thought Stephen King\’s works lend itself to being a comic book. Especially Cell: the main character uses his comic-book skillz to save his life.

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