Tuesday, February 2, 2016

2010 graphic novel

Initially it might not seem apparent, but there are genre-overlapping similarities in the entertainment industry. The 2010 graphic novel may have longer roots than is at first apparent.

The official 2010 comic adaptations - or graphic novels as they are called - are rare beasts indeed.

Back in the '80s, successful films were sometimes adapted for the comic presentation format. The trend these days seems to be the other way around, and comic novelization has all but disappeared, making the 2010 graphic novel rarer still.

2010 graphic novel, cover by Tom Palmer.

Novel Narratives

Written by long-time graphic novel writer J.M. DeMatteis, the graphic novel takes some liberties with both the movie, the script, and even the Clarke novel itself. Minor details have been added - details that do not have any impact on the yarn, but are significant in-universe departures. Other details are added, making the story line and the narration of the graphic novel unique.

Nothing even remotely like this is made anymore.

One instance of this might serve as example: the apparition of Dave Bowman tells his wife Betty that she was "his first love". This disclosure appears nowhere in either the novel or the script. Further, when Dave Bowman appears to his mother Jessie in order to say goodbye, Jessie engages in a conversation with her son who is now a disembodied Star Being. This happens neither in the movie, nor in the script. The novel is kinda silent about it, too. At the very least, the portrayal in the novel is completely different from the graphic novel version.

Other tiny embellishments are to be found here and there. Tiny added snippets of both monologue and dialogue are of course due to poetic license, and neither add nor subtract anything from the story. Surprisingly the voice-overs - generally seen as the most cumbersome plot device in the movie - work very well in the graphic novel setting, and provide much clarity and strangely depth to the events.

Going Graphic, Again

The voice-over elements work so well, in fact, that it lends more credence to the view that the movie was initially created as if it would be a graphic novel. Moreover, when director Peter Hyams began work on the film he created the entire movie as a graphic novel before he had written a single word of the script. Hyams is, after all, a talented graphic artist with a degree in music and art from Syracuse University, and he draws a lot of the initial sketches for his movie designs.

Issue #1 and #2 of the two-part graphic novel.

As an aside, director Hyams presented conceptual design artist and visual futurist Syd Mead with his own designs, quickly drawn on a proverbial napkin at their very first meeting.

The official graphic novel looks a bit dated compared to the standards of graphic novels today. Not only has computerized shading and coloring created more variety in the color schemes, but the imaging language itself has changed since the 1980's. The narrative structures have also evolved along slightly different trajectories, making the narrative in the graphic novel appear somewhat stilted in places.

These are, however, not big obstacles if you're set to enjoy the pieces for what they are: time capsules. After all, nothing even remotely like this is made anymore.

Issues and Editions

The graphic novel hit the book stands April 1, 1985. This first issue of the graphic novel is the rarest of them all. Yes, there was another issue later on. The novel was split up into two parts, with the 2-issue magazine-format edition arriving a month later, in May of 1985. Again Tom Palmer did the cover art for both of the issues.

The graphic novel and the magazines are very rare today. If you can find one, any version or any issue, do yourself a favor and buy it.

After all, if anything encapsulates the '80s better than these, I'd sure like to know.

Images ©1984 Marvel.

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