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The Discworld Graphic Novels: 07/09/15

The Discworld Graphic Novels by Terry Pratchett contain comic book adaptations of his first two Discworld novels.

The Discworld Graphic Novels by Terry Pratchett contain the comic book adaptations of the first two Discworld novels: The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic.

Here should be a no-brainer of a win for me. I love these two Discworld books. I love the miniseries that was made from them. I love graphic novels.

And yet...

It just didn't gel for me.

Part of the problem, I suppose, is that these first two books are the foundation of the Discworld world-building and the establishment of Ankh-Morpork, though the city state changes radically with the introduction of the Night Watch series. It's also the introduction of Unseen University.

And together, they are the story of a very bad, but unfortunately powerful wizard (thanks to a spell that has infected him), given the arduous task of playing tour guide to an enthusiastic, wealthy but horribly naive (by Ankh-Morporkian standards) tourist.

As this is Twoflower's tour of Ankh-Morpork and the surrounding lands, The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic are presented much as the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is — as a tour guide. There's a lot of tell and very little show.

So that leaves the adaptors to fill in the blanks with action and dialogue. Interesting, both the miniseries and this graphic novel were done in 2008. So they were working with the same amount of Discworld material (36 books, or roughly 75 of the series as it stands now).

That gave plenty of leeway for the adaptors: either go with the series as it stood within the context of those first two books (rather primitive with enough holes in the map to fly several space turtles through), or fill in the blanks with stuff from the later books. The graphic novel chose the former and the miniseries chose the latter.

And I think that's why the graphic novel fell flat for me. Although my first experience with both books was within the context of just those two books (and my own experience as a tourist / exchange student to far off lands), my later recollections of them is within a greater understanding of Ankh-Morpork as a cultural and political influence on the Disc.

Three stars

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