Monday, October 22, 2007

Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now #1

Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now #1
Anda's Game
Hearing good things about this title, I decided to check it out. I got no further than the credits page before realizing that this issue was based on material from another medium. So I googled it. And I found the short story on And as I read the story, I read the comic, for comparison purposes.
Now...although I found the story extremely enjoyable, I felt that the graphical execution of it was rather flat. It just didn't have the heart that the prose story had. Of course, in order to compact any story, details must be omitted. Unfortunately, though, it seems that when what would have otherwise seemed to have been inconsequential details were omitted from the comic, the adaptation lost its heart along with them. The prose story makes you care, not only about the protagonist, but about the events it portrays. Whereas the comic, well, it's nothing but a depiction of the prose story in the most general sense. It's similar to the way when my wife and I left the theater after seeing Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, we both immediately began calling it Scenes From Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Sure, it still told the story. But the omissions from prose to screen resulted in the heart of the story being lost. And that's the major problem with this adaptation. The fact that the art is nothing special doesn't truly matter - to me, the art must only be intelligible. Of course, that's why I can't read anything by Humberto Ramos or Chris Bachalo. Their art is so unintelligible that it ruins the story for me. But as long as the art is decently competent, it's the story which matters most. And although this story is a great one, the adaptation found within these pages is not.
So, while I heartily recommend that all readers read the five page original prose short story, I really can't recommend that anyone spend $3.99 on this mediocre adaptation.
Prose ranking: VERY GOOD. Nearly excellent. The diabetes subplot could use more development, but it's a short story, and I understand that.
Art ranking: OKAY. It doesn't truly ADD anything to the execution, but it doesn't take anything away, either. My only true problem with the art is in its depiction of almost every rival Player Character as a generic monster instead of true avatars. Sure, it's efficient in conveying the idea that these are Anda's enemies, but most readers of comics are savvy enough to understand that there are many enemy PC's in MMORPG's. But perhaps the artist didn't quite get that. Oh well, it's excusable, nonetheless.
Adaptation ranking: EH. Which is quite unfortunate, as it could have been soooooo much better.
Really, the only positive aspect to this book is that it will serve to introduce people to some great prose writing. And isn't it always about excellence, no matter which media one finds it in?

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