Parsons Illustration Alum Gareth Hinds was interviewed by School Library Journal back in January. With a final release date (October 12th!) set for his upcoming graphic novel adaptation of The Odyssey, we thought it would be great to revisit that interview. Here’s a snippet:
Are there some stories that won’t work as graphic novels?
There are stories that don’t lend themselves quite as well to the graphic novel medium, but there are no stories that can’t be done. I’ve put off doing certain books because they were just too huge—War and Peace, for example, is not only incredibly long, it covers a very long period of time, includes a lot of characters, and would require a tremendous amount of historical research. I may adapt War and Peace someday, but not in 2010!
I’ve never hit an actual dead-end once I started working on a book, but occasionally difficult scenes can bog me down, and I have to walk away from them and work on something else for a while. For example, the very end of The Odyssey is rather abrupt in the original. I wanted to somehow slow down the last few pages and tie up some of the themes and plot threads, but I didn’t want to add any new material or change the story. That took a while to figure out.
What’s special about your version of The Odyssey?
For one thing, at 256 pages it’s a lot longer than anything else I’ve done, or most graphic novels for that matter. It has a more expansive, epic feeling than my other books, with a lot of landscape, open ocean, and crowd scenes. What I think distinguishes my books from other graphic novel adaptations is the way I approach the classics. It’s very important to me that my adaptations do justice to the originals, and to me that doesn’t just mean not changing the story too much, it also means bringing a high level of art, craft, and sophistication to the way the story is told in the new medium—like the original author did. That’s a tall order, of course. I don’t think it’s enough to give a classic story the gloss of a modern comic or dress it up with special effects. To whatever extent my adaptations succeed, it’s because I have equal dedication to the source material, the craft of telling a story in pictures, and the creation of a beautiful book.
Congrats to Gareth on his new book!