Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Odd Thought:

I was surfing randomly and came across this.

I hadn't even realized that the story is public domain now, but it was one of my favorites when I was little.

It's the imagery, really. I'm not prone to visual appreciation, art and imagery have to be really striking or really bad to truly register past the story for me. But A Little Princess always captured me.

Everything was so vivid, I thought it needed to be seen. Unfortunately, the movie adaptations are uniformly bad. Well, the Shirley Temple version is preferable, but the ending very sugar-coated and simplified. And I'd prefer not to talk about the monstrosity that was the Cuaron version. would be an absolutely lovely graphic novel. All the textures, the luxury, the clothes and vivid characters... It could be breath-taking.

Even the structure, heavy image emphasis over the use of dialogue, really would work in a comic form. Even as I read it now, I can see how to adapt it into a comic script. With a good artist, it could work incredibly well.

It's funny, we see comic book adaptations of the Baby-Sitters Club and some movies, but I've never heard of anyone taking public domain classics and making adaptations of them. But it seems like there'd be some amazing possibilities to explore there.

I mean Burnett's an obvious choice. The Secret Garden and A Little Princess would make for beautiful comics.

Conan-Doyle? Sherlock Holmes as a comic has got to have been done. But still, it'd be amazing. Jules Verne? Sure, we have "League of Extraordinary Gentleman" but has anyone adapted his actual work?

Robert Louis Stevenson? Louisa May Alcott? Mark Twain?

I'm not sure how well they'd sell, but it seems like they'd be a good way to introduce kids to the classics. Better than those dumb yellow Cliff-Notes books at any rate. Or those dumb old Classics Illustrated. They're so static. The art, I mean. They make the stories a chore. The art should be like the stories themselves, moving and flowing.

Like comic books!



  • At September 30, 2006 5:41 AM, Blogger Mickle said…

    They have, actually. We got them in a year ago or so. But they were really, really, crappy. So they went way far away very quickly.

    And Cauron's version rocks so :P.....

    Shirley Temple as Sara Crewe - please! She was far too little and far too cute.

    Although I think the Disney channel one from the '80s (I think) was the best ever. But that was partly because it was a miniseries so every detail was included.

    Best kid's book/classic to make into a comic book: James and the Giant Peach!

    Although I'd also love to see some really pretty ocean scenes from Treasure Island.

  • At September 30, 2006 5:47 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Cuaron's version was horrid! They gutted the book! Not to mention how they slaughtered the end!

    Though it was cute enough on it's own. Just a bad adaptation of my childhood's favorite book, so I have to hate it. :-)

    I'd seen the miniseries. That one was better.

    Shirley Temple didn't look the part, but you can't deny talent. :-)


    Aww. Well, they should try again! Comics are great and classics are great. So if the combination doesn't work, someone fell down on the job. :-)


    Dahl's books would be awesome comics. Though I'd go with Witches. (Now THAT was a good movie adaptation. More pat than the book, but suiting. And Anjelica Huston is awesome. :-))

  • At September 30, 2006 6:52 AM, Blogger Mickle said…

    Well, to be honest, I hated Cauron's version at first as well, because he really did butcher the story.

    After watching it again a few years later I realized that he managed to stay strangely true to most of the themes, however, and I really like it. Plus, he's just awesome.

    And yes, they should try again - just with better artists and writers/adapters this time.

  • At September 30, 2006 7:05 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I have to admit, Cuaron is very good with atmosphere.

    Probably in a few years I could try watching it again. :-) Or yesterday. But not right now as I just read it again and am being all "SQUEE! My childhood!" and thus am not apt to being fair. :-P

    *nod* Especially artists. Adaptors need to be good too of course, but I think the imagery tends to make or break this sort of story. :-)

  • At September 30, 2006 12:35 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    I loved this book when I was a kid. I read a LOT. Actually, I could see this as an animated or computer generated movie, a la Shrek.

  • At September 30, 2006 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If I remember correctly, "Wolverine: Origin" was partially based on The Secret Garden. I wish I was making this up.

  • At September 30, 2006 3:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

  • At September 30, 2006 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Whoops. Thought I closed my tags properly. Sorry about that.

    -- Anun

  • At September 30, 2006 4:57 PM, Blogger Seth T. Hahne said…

    There was a guy who adapted Raymond Chandler's The Little Sister a while back. It was alright. Worth the read, but not high on my recommendations list.

    I think part of the reason that we don't see more adaptations is that surprisingly enough, the soap opera storylines of the typical comic are seen as more inventive than the adaptation of a classic.I suppose this is the case if the soap operas are actually inventive, but too many just play to formula.

  • At September 30, 2006 5:37 PM, Blogger Mickle said…

    Well, I do think we will see more, especially since graphic novels are infesting the kids section at my store.

    In a good way, I assure you.

    We recently got in those Tokyopop chapterbook mangas they announced several months ago. Plus, all the movie-tie-in books usually include a cinemanga title now - and the new cinemangas aren't quite as horrid as the old ones.

    So, it's looking up all the way around. Just - it's all happening slowly.


    To bad we can't all get together and have a massive "Little Princess" marathon one day.

  • At September 30, 2006 9:39 PM, Blogger Your Obedient Serpent said…

    Whatever flaws Shirley Temple might have had as Sara, she certainly had the "making solemn speeches" part down. I haven't seen the movie in thirty years or more, but when I read Chapter 1, even before I realized that yes, this was the same story, her voice was delivering the lines in my head.

  • At October 01, 2006 12:31 AM, Blogger Amy Reads said…

    Hi Kali,
    I've heard that there is an illustrated/graphic novel version of Jane Eyre somewhere In The World, but have yet to see it. Nancy Drew's made quite a comeback in recent years, and the fun and beautifully drawn graphic novels written by Stephen Petrucha are quite fun.
    What I find so interesting about the fact that no one's really done what you propose is that children's literature has a very long relationship with illustration. Not just picture books, of course, but also poetry ("Goblin Market," for example), and pre-teen books (The Babysitters Club, like you mention, but also things like Nothing's Fair in the Fifth Grade).
    And then, let's not forget Edward Gorey :)

  • At October 01, 2006 12:32 AM, Blogger Amy Reads said…

    Hi Kali,
    Whoops, that's Stefan Petrucha. Sorry for the confusion (and repetitive posting!).

  • At October 01, 2006 9:51 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    sally: That'd be cute. I admit though, I really want to see it with more of a dramatic style tone than most animated movies. :-)

    adrian: o_O I'm not even gonna ask.

    Wait. No. WHAT?!

    anun: Happens! I think I've seen that. Or maybe just clips from it. I really want to watch it (again?)

    the dane: I do like the soap opera format, it's better for a serial franchise. But it's also a shame though, I'd like to see more variety.

    mickle: :-) That's heartening.

    serpent: I always hear her snarl the "I'm so hungry I could eat YOU!" line.

    amy: Ooo. I don't think I've read the Nancy Drew ones

    Yeah, with the relation between kid's books and illustration, it does seem strange. My school library had a copy of "A Little Princess" with the most beautiful illustrations ever.

  • At October 02, 2006 6:06 PM, Blogger Amy Reads said…

    Hi Kali,
    Here's number three of the Nancy Drew graphic novels, for your amusement.
    And look, you can catch a peek inside!


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