Writer(s): Marin Power
Artist(s): Patrick Olliffe
US Publisher : Moonstone
If the previously mentioned work is an extension of the work of Mary Shelly, the Frankenstein, written by Martin Powell and illustrated by Patric Olliffe, is a masterful adaptation of the original source material to the graphic novel format.
Two things should be mentioned first:
1) Adapting a classic is hard. And an 19th century classic is even harder.
2) Finding artists that match the style of the narrative is an ordeal.
This graphic novel adaptation excels on both accounts with flying colors. The intended audience is not the cliff-notes public, but the reader who has this book readily available in his library, in the section of “most admired”.
Let’s be honest for a minute: Although most readers of this humble blog likely have read Mary Wollenstonecraft Shelly’s Frankenstein, (and some may have read it multiple times) the majority of the American public has only watched a movie or two about the The Creature in their lifetime.
Martin Powell excelled at choosing the most representatives excerpts from the novella, and while remaining faithful to the cadence of the original narrative he carefully interpolates the dialogue just as it is in the original source material, just in the right amounts, just at the right intervals.
I ended up admiring a lot this adaptation, and the more I read the more my admiration grew. You can read the preface and appreciate the love everyone at Moonstone Publishing put into the confection of this graphic novel. Reading through the Copyright notices I noted that Martin Powell had already copyrighted the script back in 1990, which left me wondering if any other publisher had picked it up previously.
The art of Patrick Olliffe is perfectly matched for this grand graphic novel. I was reminded in many panels of the penmanship mastery of Berni Wrigthson. We are talking about a spellbinding command of the black and white inking. Techniques of Negative Spaces, Reverse Whites, Scratching, Ink Etching etc… the whole gamut are in display in this work. I pass pages and pages and feel I am in sometimes reading a technical manual written by a master, on how to do anything with India Ink.
The shadows speak volumes at the art of this graphic novel, and give the perfect weight and balance to this 19th century classic. I remember that after reading this novel, I immediately went online looking for more works by this artist. Interestingly he Mr. Olliffe seems to be an artist who came up through the ranks of Marvel and DC throught the early 90’s and survived “the great comic hecatomb” that was the mid 90’s.
And no matter how many “supes” he may have drawn, or how familiar you may be with his style while working for “The Big Two”, you should leave your expectations and pre-conceived ideas at the door, when enjoying the art in this graphic novel. Take it slow and enjoy how Patrick Olliffe creates exquisite black and white in each panel.
I repeat (for effect): The art in this graphic novel is the stuff that should be used as constant reference in technical manuals for anyone who wants to command the difficult art of inking.
So, on my Critics rating Frankenstein the graphic Novel adaptation, by Powell and Olliffe, gets