I don’t usually read graphic novels. This is not for any prejudice against them in particular, it’s simply that I didn’t grow up with many comic books around the house. The only ones my parents had were a couple of “Far Side” collections. I think my mother simply found a lot of the graphics annoying. When visiting family friends, I really got into their “Rupert” graphic novels (or was it Reuben?), which she always complained were hideous, and how she couldn’t stand a bear with human hands. They had a few “Tin Tin” graphic novels as well which she thought equally repulsive.
Thus, since I simply didn’t have access to them when I was young, and they never occur to me as an adult. I’m used to imagining things in my head when reading a book and zipping through the text. While now and then I’ve thought things like, “It might be amusing to read the ‘Ender’s Game’ comic book,” I’ve never been serious enough about it to go purchase one.
So, when I decided to check out the Dark Crystal’s Author Quest, and discovered the only material besides the movie out there were graphic novels I was initially disappointed. Fortunately, my public library had two volumes of the “Dark Crystal Creation Myths” in their collection and I checked them out. I’ve ended up really enjoying them.
For one thing, the art is lovely, if a bit creepy, which is appropriate considering that’s the same vibe the classic movie has. While they’re slower reading than a regular novel for, the art was splendid. What surprised me most was that it allowed me to actually like reading creation myths, which tend to bore me. Usually I want to get on with the real story instead. Or, if I’m going to read folktales I prefer actual ethnographic ones to made-up fantasy ones. As a genre, creation myths tend to be abysmally boring.
However, when lovely illustrated, I’ve discovered I don’t mind them. The actual “creation” part is also only the first section of the first book. I was able to connect with the mischievous Raunip who reminded me of my trolls, and the sad gelfling Gyr, a bard marred by a tragic song. The world of the movie always seemed a bit confusing (who were these strange creatures that go split into two) and the books do a good job of showing the reasons for the split. I found the whole thing enjoyable and well-done.
I am seeing if any of the other nearby libraries have the rest of the graphic novels and will perhaps try this format more often. I can certainly recommend them for anyone who likes either graphic novels, the Dark Crystal, or mythic storytelling. They might be a bit dark for the younger crowd, but if the kid has seen the movie without being terrified, the books are entirely appropriate.