A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: The Eye of the World Graphic Novels
Written by Melissa Ann Singer, Senior Editor
There are always risks to be taken when a work is adapted from one form to another. That’s true whether you’re talking about the novelization of a film, turning a fictional card game into the real thing, or creating a graphic version of a story that was previously told only in words.
I’m guessing that everyone has played the casting game with The Eye of the World—in the movie or TV series, who would play Rand? Moiraine Aes Sedai? What stars would make guest appearances as Elyas or Thom Merrilin? Beyond that, I’m sure everyone has a personal mental image of what Robert Jordan’s characters and world look like—the books are quite visually evocative.
How challenging it must have been when the creative team began to draw that world and those characters—images that would first have to satisfy Robert Jordan himself (and later, Maria, Alan, and Harriet) and then please readers. To illustrate the great battles as well as Rand’s dreams and visions; the dark city of Shadar Logoth and the bustle of Caemlyn; the journey downriver to Whitebridge and the long ride to Tar Valon.
The artists who have worked on The Eye of the World: the Graphic Novel have risen splendidly to that challenge. Chase Conley’s striking page layouts; Jeremy Saliba’s fluid line-work; Andie Tong’s masterful use of shadow and contrast; Nicolas Chapuis’s brilliant color choices . . . their work, and the work of Francis Nuguit and Marcio Fiorito, have brought Jordan’s characters vividly and dramatically to life.
Matching these talents is a prodigiously gifted writer, Chuck Dixon, who faced a monumental task: to boil down thousands of Jordan’s words into the bits of dialog, thought balloons, and captions that would fit onto a standard comic-book-sized page. To figure out how to break the novel into 22-page bits (since the graphic adaptation first appeared in comic book form) and how to pace those 22-page bits so that they could be gathered into bigger chunks that would each have something resembling a beginning, a middle, and an end (as we turned them into graphic novels).
That’s not easy, and we’re very lucky to have Dixon to do it; he’s a master of the form.
It’s been a wonderful ride so far, one that’s expanded my inner vision of the world of The Wheel of Time. I’m almost sorry that we’re halfway through with the graphic novels because watching Dixon and the artists solve the puzzle of creating the adaptation has been so amazing, but at the same time, I can’t wait to see how they handle the climax of the story.
From the Tor/Forge January Wheel of Time newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.
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