God rest ye fairy gentlemen (and ladies), and a comical question
The newer printing processes can produce deeper, much more saturated colors. I suspect that this, as much as any predisposition toward darker subject matter on the writers’ part, is responsible for the look of graphic novels. Why do graphic novelists fill their stories with deep, dark, brooding shadows? For the same a reason a dog licks its … but never mind.
Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel, adapted from Eoin Colfer’s first book about a 12-year-old criminal genius, may be particularly well-suited for such treatment, since much of the story happens underground, in the land of the Lower Elements People – fairies, elves and the like. (Fowl’s antagonists and sometimes allies are members of the Lower Elements Police Reconnaissance squad, or LEPrec– you can figure out the rest of that one, too. Colfer is, after all, Irish.)
Among this graphic novel’s attractions are the opportunities to see how the characters look and to match them against the mental images one has from the book. The artist and colorist (Giovanni Rigano and Paolo Lamanna, respectively) do a good job, rendering convincing pictures of the hirsute troll that nearly puts an end to Artemis’ butler, the hairy and endearingly amoral dwarf Mulch Diggums, and more. The butler, named Butler, is a tad more gigantic than I'd have pictured, and Butler's sister, Juliet, does not look especially Eurasian, though she is described as such in one of the later novels in the series. Still, the graphic novel looks terrific, if necessarily a bit darker than the novel on which it is based.
Artemis himself looks as one might expect of a boy of such overarching ambition: short, immaculately dressed, his eyes narrowed or shielded behind special eyewear. His eyes widen just once, at a highly appropriate moment at the story’s end.
And now, readers, the question: Artemis Fowl joins Peter O’Donnell’s Modesty Blaise as characters who enjoy parallel lives in comics/graphic novels and in crime novels of the traditional, non-graphic kind. Who else has done this?
© Peter Rozovsky 2007
Irish crime fiction