Of course those of us who have the greatest respect for the work of H G Wells would like nothing better than for people to try the original
books, but it has to be acknowledged that the writing style could be a barrier. Kudos then to Wisconsin based publisher Eureka Productions
for giving these venerable works a new lease of life by reinterpreting them in graphic format. Just republished in a new edition is their
take on a number of classic stories from Wells, featuring 95 new pages (out of the 144).
Of greatest interest to readers of this website will be the War of the Worlds, not the original Wells novel, but in fact the story
behind the Orson Welles broadcast. Nicely if somewhat inaccurately illustrated by Nick Miller, (his maniacal looking Welles sports a
beard which he did not adopt until later in life), it alternates between scenes set in the studio and the reaction of listeners.
This structure works well, but I would be remiss if I did not mention some gripes about the script by Antonella Caputo. A young boy
complains that he is going to miss Buck Rogers when his mother switches to the broadcast (Buck Rogers was not airing opposite the
broadcast) and Welles is credited with dialogue that he did actually read during the broadcast. On a more positive note, the passion
and tension of the night is strongly evoked, though the temptation to overplay the destruction proves too much to resist. Readers
should not assume that shops were looted and windows smashed.
So a flawed but certainly unique attempt to tell the story of the broadcast, and certainly an excellent starting point for younger
readers to begin their own investigations of the event. School teachers might then find this section especially useful.
The Invisible Man is probably the most successful collaboration of dialogue and images, with a really unique style on offer from
Simon Gane that seems to suit ideally the period he is trying to evoke. Other stories tackled within these pages include The Time
Machine and The Man Who Could Work Miracles.
I'm not sure I fully concur with the publishers avowed intention to remove or minimize racist and sexist language from their range
of "graphic anthologies" as they prefer to style them, though the Wells stories on offer here present (to my knowledge at least) nothing
in the original that would raise such concerns. I suppose in trying to create works that are accessible to adults and children alike,
a degree of care is required, but by and large, I feel parents rather than publisher's should be responsible for guiding their children
in their understanding of literature, warts and all.
Still, on the evidence of this volume, these Graphic Classics should serve as a good introduction to some amazing literature that in
this age of Harry Potter may otherwise be lost to our younger generation. If you are a Wells fan and have children who turn their nose
up at the originals, this might well be your salvation, though my seven year old daughter got a few pages into The Invisible Man and
politely put it aside in favour of Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. I suspect though that may have been more a case of
unfamiliarity with the graphic storytelling medium than any specific dislike of this volume. I'll try her again when she is eight.
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