Review: The Graveyard Book (Volume 1) by Neil Gaiman, adapted by P. Craig Russell

Be Hole, Be Dust, Be Dream, Be Wind
Be Night, Be Dark, Be Wish, Be Mind,
Now Slip, Now Slide, Now Move UnSeen,
Above, Beneath, Betwixt, Between.
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ (4.95/5)

What’s This Book About?

Genre: Children’s/YA Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Graphic Novelisation

Synopsis: After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own. Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, would be completely normal, if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary undead guardian. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack — who already murdered Bod’s family…

Cover of The Graveyard Book graphic novel volume 1

Beautifully interpreted, this graphic novel adaptation by P. Craig Russell features work from artists Kevin Nowlan, P. Craig Russell, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson, and Stephen B. Scott. Lending their own signature styles to each chapter, they create an imaginatively diverse and yet cohesive interpretation of Neil Gaiman’s luminous novel.

What I Thought:

The art in this is stunning and I especially loved that it’s a new artist (or two!) for each chapter! It was one of the reasons I picked it up, because I love to see a wide range of art styles. Among my favourite scenes were The Sleer (p.55-6 by P. Craig Russell), Mrs Lupescu’s shadow (p.71, by Tony Harris, I believe) and Liza’s flashback (p.118-9 by Galen Showman) – and big shoutout to each chapter’s opening page! So, so striking.

The conversion of the book itself into graphic novel format worked very well.The The illustrative narration lends it some extra dynamism (though the original novel was fantastic already) yet it retains the timeless soul that made the original so unforgettable. It was fairly obvious from the moment I turned to the incredibly vivid page 2 that I was in for a treat! I was trapped in the throes of a reading slump, and this definitely had me flipping through to the end (or ‘Interlude’, rather) all in one sitting. I’m disappointed that my local library doesn’t have Volume 2, but I’ll have to have a look round.

The only snaggle I picked up on was Bod’s eye colour. In the illustrations, Bod’s eyes invariably seem to be coloured brown…yet in Chapter Two he’s described in the text as having “sober grey eyes”. Not sure what’s going on with that.

One I definitely recommend, especially if you enjoyed the original novel!

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