Monday, June 28, 2010

Manga Mondays (4) - Twilight: The Graphic Novel Vol. 1 - Stephenie Meyer and Young Kim

When Isabella Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edward is both irresistible and impenetrable. Up until now, he has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Bella is determined to uncover his dark secret... Beautifully rendered, this first installment of Twilight: The Graphic Novel is a must-have for any collector’s library. 
This isn't really manga but for Week O' Twilight, it's close enough.

I read the Graphic Novel as soon as it came out. At that time, I hadn't read any manga. I thought it was hard to follow. Being more familiar with manga now, I decided to look at the book again. I am more impressed with the book than I was before but my basic feelings are still the same...

As a standalone book, I don't think that Graphic Novel works. The dialogue is too sparse to fully convey the story. If I wasn't fully familiar with Twilight the novel, the graphic version would be very confusing. I did follow it better the second time around, largely due to being more accustomed to manga/graphic novels. But the text still doesn't fully satisfy.

That being said, I love the Graphic Novel for one reason: it is a work of art. The illustrations are beyond gorgeous - truly beautiful. It far surpasses any manga I've encountered thus far. I love the drawings of the characters. The faces are incredibly detailed. Through the eyes alone I can see every emotion expressed. And the hair is wonderful, especially Bella's. I'm always jealous of any girl, real or drawn, who has silky, straight, shiny hair. It's just not fair. Bella looks just like I imagine her. So do Carlisle, Charlie, and Jacob. I was most pleased with Alice. She looked exactly as she should. In the movies, they made Alice's hair too long and not black enough. Edward doesn't look like the Edward in my head...neither does Robert Pattinson. I'm not even sure what the Edward in my head looks like, but I haven't seen anything matching it yet.

The detailed characters drawings are just one reason why I love the artwork in the Graphic Novel. The variation of the drawings to reflect mood is quite impressive. The page just before the car crash and the pages when Edward rescues Bella from the guys in Port Angeles are full of lines reflecting the urgency and intensity of the moment. The dream sequence with Jacob the wolf and Edward the vampire is fascinating: Jacob in human form is wooden and unnatural while Edward is smooth and perfect, even with fangs. When Claire de Lune is playing in the car, lines of music are drawn in the background of Edward and Bella's conversation. She captured so many of the little things that gives Twilight its richness.

I love the subtle use of color. It's only used for symbolic reasons, such as bright red for blood, and for plot climaxes, such as the dream sequence, the meadow scene, and the twilight scene. The twilight page was my favorite of the entire book. Edward tells Bella that twilight is the easiest and saddest time of day, the background is a gorgeous sunset - blue, pink, orange, and yellow. Another fascinating artistic choice was the use of photographs. At various places in the book, such as the Phoenix airport, the beach, and some of the car scenes add texture to the novel.

Twilight: The Graphic Novel was a success for me because of the artwork. Textually, it's ho-hum. But artistically, it's something special. Each time I look at it, I see some nuance I didn't encounter before. For that reason, I'll keep looking at it and keep it on my bookshelf.

Rating - 5 / 5 (very biased rating; probably deserves less but all Twilight-related books get a 5 from me)


  1. So interesting... I love the Twilight books but have never read this version. After your review, I think I'll be content to just flip through it in the book store :)

  2. I confess, this isn't a genre I have ever read but your great review has convinced me to give it a try.

  3. Nice review. I've never read manga either and saw this in the bookstore but didn't want to spend my money on it...


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