How do I love the Bumbles? Let me count the ways. Well, I'd like to, but there isn't enough time in the day. But one of the many cool things about Molly and Andy is that they are out there, always with an eye open for interesting "stuff"...articles, products, books. Occasionally, they find "stuff" that they think I will like, and they shoot me an e-mail. It has run the gamut...jokes, Christmas ornaments, websites...you name it. But imagine my eyes popping out of my skull when they sent me the link to Amazon, featuring The Stand in graphic novel form! Published by Marvel, the vision is ultimately six hardback volumes, one for each of the stages of this apocalyptic story. The Bumbles know how much I love The Stand. I believe it to be King's finest work - a classic. I flipped out. I HAD to have it. But Molly beat me to the punch - she sent me volume 1 for my birthday!
Based on the information I could dig up, Stephen King himself approached Marvel and asked them if they would be interested in the project (yeah right, like they wouldn't be interested). From that point, the creative team was chosen. All members of the team allowed themselves to be inspired by the original story and the descriptions of each of the characters, and seem to have effectively blocked out any influence by the casting in the movie. This book and its images stand (ha) on their own.
At the end of Volume 1, we are privy to the sketchbook, including character studies with commentary on "birthing" Randall Flagg, Frannie, Larry Underwood, Nick Andros, Trashcan Man and Stu Redman. You can tell that the artists "get" King. The characters jump off the page, grab you and force to look. Visual candy is what this is.
As you can see from the pictures, this graphic novel is in every way graphic. The illustrations are dark and almost feral in nature. They are twisted and insane, and I love it! I love insane. If you scare easily, you might end up seeing some of these visuals in your nightmares. (Bear in mind that this first installment is about the spread of the flu-like virus that kills 98% of humanity in a sea of phlegm and mucus. I won't show those pictures here.)
The novel is very true to the original story. Obviously there had to be some serious editing, but the meat is all there. The introduction of the core players and their individual circumstances, the spread of the virus, the mountains of bodies, the dreams of a cornfield, the attempt at government control, the CDC. And the Walking Dude. The Walking Dude is SO menacing, he makes your skin crawl.
Just this year, I've come to appreciate the beauty and genius of the graphic novel. So I'm probably not qualified to say this. But this is what GRAPHIC is all about, baby.
Volume 1 (Captain Trips) and Volume 2 (American Nightmares) are both currently available. The third volume (Soul Survivors) should be out sometime this month. I shall be back with more, friends.
5 out of 5 stars