Citizen of the Galaxy graphic novel
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Author:  Blackhawk [ Sat Jul 05, 2014 11:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Citizen of the Galaxy graphic novel

The eBook edition of the COTG graphic novel has been released to contributors of the Kickstarter campaign. I got mine a few days ago and read it today. Anytime a book is adapted to another medium, the result has to be different. That is clearly the case with the graphic novel, but just as with a good movie adaptation, different doesn't have to mean bad. I like the grahic novel and think it does an excellent job of presenting the story's essentials in a different form. The artwork is quite good, basically realistic but with a soft touch that works well for the characters. I didn't count the number of the story pages but the whole book is only eighty one pages long and several of those are taken up with titles, transitions and credits. The remaining pages try to squeeze as much of the original story in as possible but inevitably there is simply not room for everything. COTG is divided into four parts, Thorby's time with Baslim in Jubbelpore, his time with the Free Traders on Sisu, his time as an enlisted Guardsman on the cruiser Hydra, and finally his return to Earth as Thor Rudbek. The graphic novel does a pretty good job with the first and last parts. It does a decent job with the Free Traders but that seems like the hardest part to adapt. Heinlein spent a fair amount of time explaining the Free Traders very complex culture, and how Thorby could never really fit into it. There are several subplots. The graphic novel distills this to the bare essentials to tell the story. The third part of the story is even less well developed. We get just enough of the story to explain how the Guard figures out that Thorby is heir to a vast estate. We don't get any of his adjusting to a culture different from Jubbelpore or the Free Traders. Surprising to me, the graphic novel does a good job with the last part of the book. I must admit this was always the least interesting part to me. It's obvious that Heinlein had a good time describing the attempted scam of Thor by the company's entrenched management and it's resolution, but I found it much less intriguing than the earlier parts. The graphic novel makes it work, though, and doesn't seem to lose anything in the process. Most importantly, the graphic novel does clearly make Heinlein's case against slavery and shows Thorby's progress from frightened little boy to confident young man.

My only real complaint about the graphic novel is that it is too short. It really needs at least another twenty pages so that the Free Trader and Guard sections could be expanded to include more of the story. I'm sure there are good reasons why that was not possible.

There are a number of visual treats for the reader. The first Free Trader captain to whom Thorby delivers a message for Baslim is clearly meant to resemble Heinlein. The Guard cruiser Hydra bears a similarity of design to the ships in the movie "Starship Troopers." Speaking of ship design, I didn't care for the depiction of the Sisu. It's a pretty design but doesn't look practical for a merchant vessel. That's just a matter of taste, though.

I do recommend the book and hope it is successful enough to justify more such adaptations. I don't know if the intent is to eventually sell it in regular retail outlets, but for now is available from the Virginia Edition website:

Author:  Blackhawk [ Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Citizen of the Galaxy graphic novel

I received my hardcover copies of the COTG graphic novel today (copies because there were problems with the printing of the softcover and it was abandoned. Only hardcovers will be produced.) It is an attractive volume, though I feel the printing is somewhat muted compared to the colors in the digital version. It looks good but not as striking as I expected. Also, it is a noticeably thin book. More pages would have made it feel more substantial as well as allow more developed story telling. Finally, it was poorly packed so both books arrived with slightly dinged corners. That shouldn't be a problem for those buying in a store. That may be difficult immediately, however, since the first printing has already sold out. Despite my minor quibbles, I'd think any serious Heinlein fan would want this in their collection. I hope the apparent success of this book will produce more Heinlein graphic novels.

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