Sunday, March 20, 2016

Review: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: A Graphic Novel

Graphic Novel Reviews
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson/
Andrzej Klimowski
Series: None
Publisher: SelfMadeHero
Publication Date: April 1, 2009
Genre: Graphic Novel/ Classics
Pages: 128
Get it on Amazon
I am not well read in terms of graphic novels. I've literally only read Maus and Maus II before Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: A Graphic Novel. But despite this fundamental lack of knowledge, I actually enjoyed this little gem. Maybe because I have read the original source material, but I found reading this particular graphic novel to be a little creepy and conveyed the basic tone of this gothic novel rather well. It doesn't have great reviews online, but I think you should be the judge especially if you are a Robert Louis Stevenson or a gothic novel fan.

"'If he be Mr. Hyde,' he had thought, 'I shall be Mr. Seek.'" 

Mr. Utterson is on a walk with a friend when he witnesses a strange scene where a man plows over a young girl and just leaves her lying on ground. He later finds out it is Mr. Hyde, who he knows works for his good friend, Dr. Jekyll. Utterson is confused by this horrible man being employed by such a nice doctor. Later, he begins to suspect Mr. Hyde as the culprit in a series of strange occurrences in town, including a murder. Utterson takes it upon himself to solve the mystery, only to discover that his friend, Dr. Jekyll, is hiding more secrets than he could ever have imagined.

"Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm."

There were several good things happening in this graphic novel. Like I said, it kept to the dark tone with the black and white sketching and using original lines from the novel. But what is really great about it is how closely it follows the original in picture form. This would be a great companion resource for teachers teaching this novel in class. And the best part is the end everything is neatly explained with Dr. Jekyll's letter with corresponding pictures. The drawings really help clarify what is happening where Stevenson's flowery language can be confusing to people unfamiliar with victorian/gothic style writing. Plus it's a quick read.

The only complaint I really have is the confusion in the beginning. Sometimes it was unclear in the drawings who Utterson was, and the other people he was talking with. Some of the characters looked very similar in the simple black and white drawings and some of the dialog was confusing as to who was speaking. However, at the end, the letter clarifies everything that might have been confusing in the beginning. I just suggest taking your time reading through this graphic novel and make sure you look for identifying markers on certain characters, so you remember who they are later.

All in all, I really did like this graphic novel. I think it would have made Stevenson proud particularly in creepiness. I would suggest reading it with the novel or just after reading the original novel because it can be confusing in some parts. I really like the idea of classic novels being turned into graphic novels, so let me know if you have read any others that you like. 3.5 stars