Saturday, December 15, 2012

Interview with the Vampire: Claudia’s Story. Graphic novel review

Interview with the Vampire: Claudia’s Story. Adapted by Ashley Marie Witter (Headline £13.99).

Reviewed by Peter Coleborn

Ashley Marie Witter has done a fabulous job in adapting Anne Rice’s seminal novel, which was published in the 1970s – that’s when I first read it. Actually, I’ve only read it the once after finding the sequel less gripping and I am yet to see the movie version – something about that deters me. Anyway, when I started this graphic novel adaptation I quickly found myself engrossed and read the book in one sitting.

Unlike the novel, the young reporter to whom Louis tells his story doesn’t appear, and the graphic novel does not suffer for this omission. Witter dives straight in to the story, when Lestat converts the girl – Claudia – into one of the undead. Witter’s version is told from Claudia perspective. Louis becomes emotionally attached to the girl – forever doomed to remain a child even though her imagination, her knowledge, becomes that of an adult woman. It’s a sort of curse – as she expresses so succinctly when in Paris.

As I read this version my memories of the novel percolated my mind: the adaption seems, to me, to be quite faithful to the Rice original. My initial reservation about starting this novel vanished after a few pages.

The artwork is stunning. Witter used a monochrome style but using a sepia-toned pen with occasional touches of colour – red of course. The layouts speed on the reader, perhaps too quickly: there are very few natural pauses if you have to break off reading for any reason. The only thing that would’ve improved the book is a larger format. The artwork deserved a bigger canvas. But for the price this hardback graphic novel is excellent value. It will make a grand Christmas gift.

Based on this book I hope that Witter becomes a mainstay of the graphic novel and I look forward to seeing more of her work.

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