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The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Volume 1: 12/15/14

cover art

The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell is the first part of the adaptation from novel to graphic novel. It's also the third version of this story I've read and the second one I've reviewed.

The Graveyard Book is a retelling of Rudyard's Kipling's Jungle Book. The location has been moved from the Indian jungle to an unnamed, but decidedly European, perhaps even British empire, town and the time period has been brought if not to the present, at least closer to it.

As the boy Mowgli was abandoned to the wolves, Nobody Owen, is abandoned to the graveyard up the hill from his home. Though Kipling leaves the reason behind the disappearance of Mowgli's parents to the imagination, Gaiman creates Jack, a hired hitman sent on a bloody mission for reasons later revealed.

On the dying wish of Bod's mother, the Owens take in the baby (shown in this version as a toddler). Just as Mowgli is given the ability to talk to the animals, starting first with the wolves, and later with Baloo the bear, and Bagheera the panther, Bod is given further access to the grave through Silas and Miss Lupescu.

As the relatively short book has been subdivided and expanded to accommodate Craig Russell's drawings, the pacing seems off. But in terms of the original Kipling book, which is a series of short stories spread across two volumes, it's more in tune. That leaves me a bit torn, because I like the rhythm of Gaiman's book and the way he lulls us into a false sense of security before unleashing the ghouls before the return of Jack.

Here, though, Bod as a teenager, going up against the danger that once tried to kill him (as another boy who lived), comes in the second volume.

Five stars

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