The Bottom Line
With several popular novels and movies based on The Twilight Saga, a graphic novel adaptation of this dark teen romance seems to have a sure-fire recipe for success – just take the story, add pictures and stir. By letting Young Kim's artwork do much of the storytelling, the graphic novel is an improvement on the novels, because Meyer's florid prose is one of the most distracting aspect of her books.
But for all the things it does right, this adaptation is also beset by poorly-placed word balloons and lovely, but occasionally awkward artwork. It'll please Twilight fans, but won't likely win many new ones.
- Lovely artwork that captures the dark, moody and romantic tone of the novels
- Relatively straightforward storytelling that's easier to follow than say, Vampire Knight
- Selective use of color in this mostly black and white story creates drama at key moments
- Classy, library-worthy hardcover will please fans and collectors
- Suffers from haphazardly-placed word balloons that sometimes cover characters' faces
- Occasional lapses of draftsmanship, with some awkward anatomy and foreshortening
- At $20, it's roughly twice the cost of most graphic novels
- Jacob and other characters' faces lack the rich characterization seen in Bella and Edward's faces
- Author: Stephenie Meyer
Artist: Young Kim
- Publisher: Yen Press (US)
- ISBN: 978-0759529434
- Cover Price: $19.99 US / $22.99 CANADA
- Age Rating:
Not rated, but suitable for T – Teens Age 13+
for mild sexual innuendo, violence
More about content ratings.
- Manga Genres:
- Shojo (Girls') Manga
- Paranormal / Supernatural
- Teen / High School Romance
- Vampires / Gothic
- US Publication Date: March 2010
- Book Description: 224 pages, black and white, color illustrations
Guide Review - Twilight The Graphic Novel Volume 1
Unless you've been in a cave for the past five years, you've probably heard of The Twilight Saga. This story of a human girl who falls in love with a handsome classmate who just happens to be a vampire has sold millions of books and movie tickets all over the world.
The Twilight Saga is hugely popular because it fulfills a common female fantasy: the hot bad boy (with a good heart) who inexplicably finds you irresistible. He's dangerous yet gentlemanly, sexy but sweet, and his love is unconditional. It's catnip for teen girls, trust me.
With so many expectations from both fans and comics readers on their shoulders, the Yen Press editorial team had their work cut out for them. But could they satisfy the devoted fans of the books and movies AND create a graphic novel that would be good enough to stand on its own? The answer? Yes and no.
In many respects, the Yen Press editorial team did a lot of things right. Korean manhwa artist Young Kim created some lovely artwork that captures the moody romance of this story without the baggage of manga/manhwa tropes (like exaggerated 'super-deformed' expressions during humorous moments) that might be off-putting to readers who aren't 'hip' to Asian graphic storytelling.
They also reeled in the impulse to overload the story with narration or dialogue from the novels. After all, it's a graphic novel - let the pictures tell the story. The story flows at a good clip, and the plot is fairly straightforward, so it's easier to follow than say, Vampire Knight. The deluxe hardcover presentation with glossy pages and selective use of color to enhance the drama of key moments are nice touches too.
But for all this attention to detail, it's puzzling that a few glaring missteps were made. The most obvious is the haphazardly placed word balloons. Several examples have been cited by other comics critics, and yes, they are cringe-worthy. I can only guess that Kim (who cites prior experience in animation and illustration, not graphic novels) didn't take dialogue flow and word balloon placement into account when she drew the first batch of pages. However, it does happen less frequently in the latter part of this volume.
Kim's inexperience also shows in her draftsmanship, which occasionally demonstrates her shaky grasp of anatomy and foreshortening. Her character drawings of Jacob and some secondary characters also lack the richness of her depictions of Bella and Edward.
Twilight: The Graphic Novel is definitely not Eisner Award material, but it honestly never aspired to those heights. Its only duty was to please Meyer and her legions of devoted fans, who perhaps aren't as persnickety about things like boring fonts and confusing word balloon placements. Much like the novels, the Twilight graphic novel is an entertaining, but flawed book that will either make you swoon or make you roll your eyes - but by trying to be true to its source material, what else could it do?