Stop whatever you are doing and go to the nearest bookshop now!
Some things are so good that they require your attention immediately. For some of us this might be sex, others might say it's food. For me it is the release of a new 'Saga' tradeback, the epic space opera written by Brian K.Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Pre-release days are unbearable to me and are mostly spent in a stupor, performing my daily tasks on autopilot. Resumption of vital functions will only happen on release date and after the comic's consumption.
But what has 'Saga' got to do with a graphic novel adaption of Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials'? It is simple: when I saw a Guardian article announcing the publication of the new Pullman adaption, I also felt this nervous twitch of 'I need to go to a bookshop now and get my hands on this goddamn book, otherwise my life is absolutely pointless'.
For those of you who are not familiar with 'His Dark Materials', it is the name of a fantasy trilogy Pullman wrote and published over the course of five years. It's a magical book full of witches, dæmons and armoured polar bears. I repeat: armoured polar bears! If that doesn't get you excited, by God you must think that going to work is fun. But it is also the coming of age story of Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, whom the reader follows on their adventure through parallel universes.
It's one of these books that speaks to kids and adults alike. Pullman wrote this partly as a retelling and inversion of 'Paradise Lost' by Milton ('His Dark Materials' actually stems from Milton's poem), so that adults' brain cells get some fodder as well. So don't feel guilty if anyone catches you reading the book, there's no need to come up with silly excuses like "I bought this for my nephew".
Reading the trilogy was one of those rare moments of getting sucked up into another world right from the very beginning. There was nothing else I wanted to do more than finish reading this book. Call in sick into work, forget that you have a social life and spend your time with your new best friends: Lyra, Will and the panserbjørn Iorek Byrnison.
It is no wonder that the announcement of a graphic novel adaption makes me feel so excited. Of course, someone could question if there was a need for it, especially after the dreadful movie adaption 'The Golden Compass'. The book is perfect as it is and those who have read it will have their own imaginings of what the characters and universes look like in their head. This makes it considerably harder for any artist to pull off something so as to convince their audience. As with the movie, the graphic novel will need to make omissions and accentuate other key-scenes in order to drive the plot forward over a relatively short space. I might not necessarily like it, but if I come to think about it, it's not a massive problem. Because every adaption is also a chance to revisit your beloved imagined world and explore it through a different lens. If I really can't handle the interpretation, I can always go back and reread Pullman's original. Saying that, I am off to the bookshop now. I need to get my hands on that graphic novel...
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