Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The Stuff of Legend, Book 1: The Dark - A Graphic Novel Review
The Boogeyman is scary. When I was very little I was sure there was something sinister hiding in the shadows beneath my bed. I would get a running start and leap into my bed so that there was no way I could be snatched by an arm from under my box springs. The opening pages perfectly capture that horrifying feeling I had for a split second whilst sailing through the air before hitting my pillow – that terrifying feeling that something was about to drag me under. One of my favorite frames is drawn from the boy’s perspective. We see the boy’s hands stretched out towards Maxwell, the teddy bear lying helpless in his frozen state, watching as the boy is dragged off by the Boogeyman. Can you imagine watching someone you love being abducted while you are unable to move or speak? The boy’s kidnapping is a heavy blow to Maxwell.
The sepia tone leant a serious feel to the book which worked well considering the book’s themes. Each character was vital to the story, adding something important to each other’s characterization. The “natural” representation of each toy was just what I thought they’d be like. I actually enjoyed the way book one dropped off. I don’t want to give much away but I thought it was clever.
There are many themes in this graphic novel: war, friendship and loyalty stand out the strongest. The toys’ resolve is tested as they face foes from within and without their party. Worst of all, they can’t seem to find out anything about the boy. I found this to be the most frustrating part of the story. As much as I enjoyed the toys’ adventures, I wanted to know more about why the boy was taken in the first place. Perhaps unanswered questions are customary with comic books but I felt this first installment, especially as a graphic novel, would have been stronger with more information here. However, I thoroughly enjoyed The Dark and want to read the next book.
What do you think of the cover? Doesn’t Maxwell’s face epitomize determination? I love it.
Publisher: Villard, 2010 Pages: 128 Source: Purchased on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars Recommended Age: 12 and up (There's a few pictures very young children might find too scary.)