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Anansi Boys #1
Dark Horse Comics

Comic Books

‘Anansi Boys’ #1 is an adaptation of one of Neil Gaiman’s underrated works

Worth picking up if you’re into Neil Gaiman’s work or if you want to shake up your reading list.

When I’m not reading comics, I’m reading novels – mostly of the science fiction and fantasy variety. One of my favorite authors is undoubtedly Neil Gaiman; the way he presents unique takes on mythology is fascinating (and inspiring). The fact that he’s been able to take that and extend it to comics is nothing short of amazing, and Dark Horse Comics is capitalizing on that with its adaptation of his novel Anansi Boys.

For those of you who don’t know about Anansi Boys, the story goes like this: Charles Nancy is about to get married to his fiancée Rosie when he receives a call that his father has died. Despite having a less than stellar relationship with his father Charles flies to Florida to bury him…and then he learns that his father wasn’t just a jazz musician. He was actually Anansi, god of stories.

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Adapting a book or movie to a comic format is a bit of a double edged sword, if I’m being honest. On the one hand there’s the chance to expand upon or even update elements of the source material. On the other hand, it can just read like the book with pretty pictures. Thankfully, the creative team of Marc Bernardin and Shawn Martinborough opt for the former approach, updating the setting of the novel but still keeping the core moment intact.

Bernardin even went so far as to give one of the best analogies I’ve ever heard about the art of adaptation in an interview. “My perspective, when it comes to adaptation, is very Hippocratic: Do not leave this patient in a worse state than when you got there,” he said. True to his word, Bernardin presents a script that zeroes in on Charles’ frustration with his father and his desire to live his own life, and hits the reader with the big reveal that’s bound to keep them coming back for more. It’s presented in a way that those who love the original novel and those who didn’t read it will enjoy the ride.

They’ll also enjoy Martinborough’s artwork. Martinborough has a gift for transitions; the story opens with paintings on a wall, before slowly transitioning to the busy city streets of London. He also pack a wealth of emotion onto his characters’ faces, especially Charles. When Rosie suggests that he invite his father to their wedding, his face scrunches up in disgust. Another features Charles kicking over a stack of books in his father’s house, as years’ worth of emotions bubble out. But what really makes this comic stand out is the color work from Christopher Sotomayor. He opts to use bright, bold colors for backgrounds, resulting in each setting having its own distinct flavor. London’s cold blue fades to the bright red of Charles’ apartment, and then to the blazing yellow standing in for Florida’s sun. I’ve rarely seen colors like this in a book but it works. So does Jim Campbell’s stark lettering, especially when it comes to the opening captions.

Anansi Boys #1 is worth picking up if you’re into Neil Gaiman’s work or if you want to shake up your reading list. It’s also proof that comics can be just as great an adaptation as films or TV shows – as long as you have the right creatives in place.

Anansi Boys #1
‘Anansi Boys’ #1 is an adaptation of one of Neil Gaiman’s underrated works
Anansi Boys #1
Anansi Boys #1 is worth picking up if you're into Neil Gaiman's work or if you want to shake up your reading list. It's also proof that comics can be just as great an adaptation as films or TV shows – as long as you have the right creatives in place.
Reader Rating0 Votes
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Marc Bernardin translates Gaiman's work faithfully to the comic page, while also modernizing certain elements.
Shawn Martinborough has a gift for displaying emotion through characters' facial expressions and action.
Christopher Sotomayor's colors will grab your eyes from the very first page.
Neil Gaiman fans and those looking for a new comic should definitely check this out.
I need the second issue and I can't wait a month!
8
Good
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