I’ve had one crazy month of May and as a result I haven’t read much of anything, let alone any titles within comic series (the horror!), which is also why I’m late with this month’s post. So, in an effort to provide some quality comic related talk today I’m going to focus on something a little different today – Big Trouble In Little China (1986). Please tell me you remember this movie (House Organa – I’m definitely looking at you!). Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, James Hong, and Victor Wong starred in this movie directed by John Carpenter. In my opinion, it’s definitely a cult classic. I know I see it at least once a year. It’s fun and it’s silly and it ended with a creature hitch-hiking a ride on Jack Burton (Kurt Russell’s) rig. And that’s where I bring it back to comics.
As I was trying to figure out what to write about, I browsed all the titles released in June so far. And lo and behold, there was a title called Big Trouble and Little China from Boom! Studios (story by John Carpenter and Eric Powell, art by Brian Churilla), released on June 4th, and it had a representation of Kurt Russell’s mug staring at me. I couldn’t resist. It was entertaining with some clear call backs (Jack’s speeches for example) and other references to the movie. I did appreciate that it begins where the movie leaves off (with the big hairy monster on the back of Jack’s truck). The art in the book was slightly amateur (which was more noticeable in some panels than others) but it didn’t detract too much from the story. The hell demon was certainly my favorite part of the book. Overall I got a kick out the book, but I probably won’t continue to purchase this title.
But that brings me to my larger point today, do you like comics that are continuations of or simply retellings of popular books, movies or shows? There are some that have been extremely successful (i.e. Buffy and Firefly) and others that aren’t quite at that level (Grimm, the new Star Trek, etc.). I noticed there is now a graphic version of Hugh Howey’s Wool (which appears to be a retelling) and I’ve seen graphic novels based on Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander (which was from Jamie’s viewpoint rather than Claire’s). Admittedly, I haven’t read many of these books but I have noticed the trend, of these books based on established material, does seem to be increasing.
Personally, I have mixed views. The benefit of these types of books is that there is the potential to pull new readers into the comic world. I’ve been on the record as saying Buffy was my gateway into the world of comics (for better or worse…). I feel like something that is an exact retelling (or even worse a simplified version) is an insult to those that may have watch or read the original and it also perpetuates the stereotypes that comics are for simple people. If a comic or graphic novel is going to be based on other original material, it needs to offer something else like a different point of view or continuation of the story. I have no problems with those. And in fact, they can be quite fun as Big Trouble In Little China illustrated. But of course, just like a bad film adaptation of your favorite novel, it can be disappointing when things aren’t exactly up to the quality that you had hoped for.
What say you Iggles? Are these types of books a good thing? A bad thing? What are your thoughts?