Writing my post yesterday gave me some sense of just how many YA books are getting turned into graphic novels these days. Whether that is a good or bad thing is certainly up for debate (and seems pretty subjective on a case by case basis.) Regardless, it got me thinking about YA novels I would like to see get all pretty and picture-ized. The following eight books are ones that I feel if done right (and plz plz do them right) could be pretty excellent graphic adaptations.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
A suggestion so obvious I'm actually surprised it hasn't happened yet. If the Twilight model is to be followed (and why wouldn't it, since they hussle dollas' like nobody's business) we might be lucky enough to be graced with one after the film adaptation. My guess would be manga style, since that seems to be the trend. I've heard good things about the Battle Royale manga series so it is more than possible to go a good job here. Certainly The Games and the violence would be really awesome visualized. My biggest worry is that there could be so much emphasis on the action and Katniss being a Bad Ass Tribute Killer that it could miss out the more tender moments like those with Prim or Rue. That and they'll probably give Katniss big anime titties (though I'm sure the Capital would approve.) All that said, if they make it, I will read the shit out of it.
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
If you're just thinking oooh, you're only saying that because of the anime then YOU ARE PROBABLY CORRECT. Studio Ghibli's movie was so gorgeous because (well, everything they do is beautiful but also because) the setting in Jones' book is so vivid. It one of those quaint, light type of fantasy settings that is enjoyable to visualize because it's almost like the real world, just better and prettier and a little more magical. The chances of anyone making an adaptation that lives up to the stunning visuals of the anime is slim to none so I suppose we will just have to satisfy ourselves with an art book of the movie. (That sounded... wrong) Besides, how can anyone do justice to Howl -anyone who has read the book imagines him as perfect (or at least Howl would certainly want you to.)
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
The proposed film version has been in developmental hell for a decade now so who knows when or if that will ever get made. So I thought, in the mean time, what better way is there to visualize battle school and the buggers? Except that SOMEONE ALREADY THOUGHT THE SAME THING and Marvel has been coming out with small Ender's Game comic series for over 2 years now. Ummm, why didn't anyone tell me?! It's funny because I went from being like oh, an Ender's Game graphic novel could be really awesome to finding out there IS one and thinking omg take it back what if it's terrible?! Funny how that works. So even though these already exist, I'm leaving it in my list because I didn't know. That said, anyone wanna tell me if these are good or not?
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
This book is just the right amount of cheeseball adventure and fun to make a really satisfying crossover. There are so many elements of this story that would lend to great visuals - the fantastical setting, living in a castle, training as a knight, Alanna disguising herself as a boy, the swordplay, the sorcery, magical weapons, horses! I can see this being a perfect gateway comic that could get some younger, hesitant readers into the big wide world of fantasy fiction. A manga style series could probably work well and befairly enjoyable. And bonus, of the novels I'm mentioning, I think a graphic adaptation of Alanna has the least potential of offending its fan base.
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Another example of a book where beautiful artwork has GOT ME WANTIN' MORE. The creatures and machines Westerfeld creates are like imagination candy. All the beasties and walkers are SO COOL and I just want to see more of them. Keith Thompson's illustrations are wonderful and if you haven't read the series, I'd almost be willing to recommend Leviathan on the strength of those drawings alone. They're that good! Someone making a graphic novel either needs to copy Thompson or (if we're lucky!) they should just get him to make it. Maybe he's never done sequential art but WHO CARES we will make it work! Though I don't read much streampunk, I love the look and have been known to get secretly jealous of people I see with really awesome steampunky costumes/outfits (even if they are at Ren Fest, which isn't quite right.) So yes plz to more streampunk style graphic novels for YAs!
The Sally Lockhart Trilogy by Philip Pullman
After having read The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen I'm kind of obsessed with the idea of there being more Victorian era-mystery graphic novels. So who better to give a graphic novel to than my new absolute favorite Victorian lady mystery solver Sally! What is Kevin O'Neill up to these days, is he busy, can I commission him? The dirty London setting makes for a great visual location and I think the plots are such that they could lend well to the comic format. Besides, I think all of us would love to see drawings with Sally, Jim, Frederick and all of our favorites. I'm curious but terrified to see the BBC film version of these books because I can't imagine any actors getting the parts right. Better yet, maybe we can get a Steampunk Sallywhere she solves mysteries with her faithful mechanical dog Chaka! (That last part was a joke, plz don't hit me.)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
We've certainly covered some fantasy and sci fi favorites but what about something a little more serious? Maus and We Are On Our Own have proven that the Holocaust can be tackled in a respectful and engaging manor. Alternatively, there are apparently several graphic biographies of Anne Frank that I WILL NOT VOUCH FOR. I loved the illustrated sequence of Max's book and it could be interesting to see the rest of the novel visualized in a similar way. However, unlike some of the other YA books I've suggested, if you do this wrong, it could be really wrong.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
I didn't actually like this book. In fact, I might have hated it. But it was the characters I didn't like and their love triangle (ummm hello, please don't marry the brother of the man you love just because everyone is too awkward to talk about their feelings. I mean maybe I can understand being too awkward to dump your high school bf/gf because it's right before Christmas and they already bought you a present or maybe their dog Buster just died or you want to wait until next semester when you won't be sitting next to them in Calc or something. But when you're an adult it's preferable to tell the person you're dating that you're Just Not That Into Them sometime before your wedding. Or at least before your wedding night. Just sayin'.) But what I did like about the book was the totally awesome and horrifying universe. Dozens of creepy-as-hell fenced cities. Zombies constantly clawing to get in and eat your delicious insides. That visualization could be so terrifying. Obviously I'm thinking about how awesome The Walking Dead is, but if something is good then why not
copy it channel it. Since zombies are the new vampires that means zombies are the new thing I'm constantly over-saturated with yet still can't seem to get enough of.
So Publishers, what are you waiting for? If you want to use any of my
obvious totally brilliant suggestions, you can hire me as an independent consultant. I am willing to receive payment in US dollars, Euros or Chipotle gift cards. Fair readership, what YA novels would you like to see get turned into graphic novels? And which YA novels are so sacred to you that a poor graphic adaptation of them would be like watching someone piss into an urn of your grandmother's ashes?