Written by George R.R. Martin
Graphic novel adaptation by Daniel Abraham
Art by Tommy Patterson
Since I have to wait a year for Season 4 of HBO’s A Game of Thrones and I have to wait until October for the paperback ‘A Dance With Dragons’ (Book 5 in ‘A Song of Fire & Ice’ series) because I have no room on my shelves for the hardcover, I needed to get my Game of Thrones fix somewhere, so I decided to finally crack open Volume 1 & 2 of the graphic novel from Dynamite Comics.
Whether you are a reader of the George R. R. Martin books, or a lover of the TV series, or both, these graphic novels are definitely worth having in your collection. The comic book series is based after the book series, but can still be followed by fans solely of the TV series. What minor details, small character roles and dialogue is left out of the TV series is incorporated in these comics, and it gives you a grander appreciation of the series without really having to read the books, which can appear daunting. I was initially intimidated by the sheer size of the books at first, but read them anyway.
This may seem like a minor thing, but to those who are lovers of the TV series, since this is an original adaptation of the book, the characters look as they are described in the book. However, while there are some similarities, they are not exactly like how they look on the show. Some look prettier than they are in the TV series, some not so pretty. While the artist did an amazing job when it comes to the background imagery though, the characters are “meh”, more so in the fact that some of them are drawn alike and if the reader didn’t know who these characters were initially upon reading/watching the series it could get a tad hard to distinguish who’s who. Which is a shame for me because I recall thoroughly enjoying artist Tommy Patterson’s artwork in Zenescope’s Tales From Wonderland. Before I do continue, let me also mention that yes there is nudity and sex in the graphic novels, just as there are nude & sex scenes in both the book/TV series, so don’t be un-wise and buy this for your children (that may seem like an obvious statement but you’d be surprised at one of the Amazon reviews in which a parent complained about this).
Volume 1 (Issues 1-6)
In TV show terms, Volume 1 covers Season 1: Episode 1 through (some of) Episode 3
In the introduction of the book, George R.R. Martin himself gives a brief history of how the epic fantasy series came to be and the various adaptations that have been done, including the successful HBO series. He also talks about the long search for the right artist to illustrate this graphic novel, and his own personal history with comic books and graphic novels.
The final section of this book, which I love when trade paperbacks & graphic novels feature these, is an insider’s look at the making of the graphic novel. We get to see the creative process and insider’s commentary from the series editor Anne Groeel, artist Tommy Paterson and Daniel Abraham, the man who had the intimidating role of adapting the novels into a graphic novel script. We get to see initial sketch designs of characters, beautiful pencil only panels, inked only then colored in pieces before dialogue is added, the creators favorite rendered scenes, etc.
Volume 2 (Issues 7-12)
In TV show terms, Volume 2 covers Season 1: Remainder of Episode 3- Episode 5
Though there is no introduction piece in this edition, we do once again in the final section of the book, get the bonus feature about the making of the graphic novel which features the same three creators commentary from Volume 1 along with Jason Ullymer of Dynamite. While Volume 1 was largely focused on the art and stylizing of the characters, this one was more focused on the process of going from text to final graphic pages for one sole snippet of the book. We get treated to an excerpt of the original novel, then the graphic novel script version of that same excerpt, the rendered script of that scene, thumbnail drawings for the scene, the pencil and inked panels with & without the dialogue/caption placement and the fully colored panels.
Bottom line, these graphic novels are great companion pieces to fans of the TV show, the books and both. For lovers of the book, it fills that visual gap between the written word and your own imagination. For lovers of the TV series, it fills the gap of scenes/dialogue/characters left out of the TV show for time and scheduling constraints. For those who enjoy both, these are books worthy of a place in your Game of Thrones collection.
Now taking myself out of already knowing the stories, my only wish with the graphic novels is, that while the stereotypical norm is to place every six issues of a comic book series in graphic novel form, instead of simply ending these particular six issue runs with a standard scene they left it off with somewhat of a cliffhanger part or any scene that would leave someone with that feeling of “I can‘t wait to read more“, because if this is someone’s first exposure to A Game of Thrones the way it ends isn’t enough to make one want to pick up the next volume. While the pacing of the stories in comic book form are well done for those that know the stories via novel or TV series, the pacing wouldn’t satisfy nor whet the appetite of a first time reader. With the vast amount of space dedicated to the process of the making the graphic novel, another one or two issues could’ve also been put in that space.
Also, while it isn’t always the norm to do so, I would’ve liked to see a cover gallery of the Game of Thrones single issues. They use the covers of the issues to separate the chapters, but there are any variant covers to some of the issues that I feel deserved to be seen by those who don’t buy the single issues/collect comics because of the sheer beauty of the artwork.
Volume 3, which will have Issues 13-18 plus bonus content, is set to be released in March 2014
3 out of 5 nerds