Classic children’s literature meet graphic novel. Graphic novel, meet classic children’s literature. Now, duke it out.
I wanted so much to like this adaptation, New Alice in Wonderland by Rod Espinosa. Maybe the graphic novel format would update this wonderful book and bring it back to kids. Well, that wishful thinking lasted until Alice fell down the rabbit hole, which as you may recall, is pretty darn early on in the story. In this case, by page six.
It’s not the illustrations, which are great. Though occasionally Alice loses the pupils in her eyes usually when she is smaller in the picture and that creeps me out. The pictures are a good depiction of the plot of the book and are quite well done.
The problem is that without the rich, full, evocative text of Lewis Carroll, the whole thing feels empty. It’s just a strange dream, with no meaning. The value to Alice in Wonderland is allowing the words of the story to assist the reader in conjuring up this magical, strange world for themselves. When the pictures are already done, then the reader has nothing left to contribute. It’s a weird trip, nothing more.
Now, a few days ago Fuse#8 reported on a new Alice book coming out soon that is supposed to be amazing. That book does incorporate more stories, so maybe it will won’t have the same issues as this little manga volume. But I’ll be interested to see if it brings something new to the classic story instead of just taking away the reader’s involvement in imagining Wonderland.