Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Graphic Novel about King Arthur -- ennhh

Matthews, John; Collins, Mike  (2009)  The Chronicles of Arthur:  Sword of Fire and Ice  New York:  Aladdin.

I really wanted to love this book.  I love the King Arthur stories and have from way back -- the mix of the hard reality of uniting discordant kingdoms, the magic of Merlin, the tragic romantic triangle of Arthur, Lancelot and Gweneivere, the rise and fall of Camelot, and even the villains -- Mordred and Morgan Le Fey. There is so much there to work with -- and so much of it seems ideal for turning into a graphic novel.  I have been waiting for a good Camelot Graphic Novel for years.
And it appears I may have to wait a bit longer.  Matthews and Collins seem to focus on all the wrong parts of the story.  There is a lot of magic here -- I would argue maybe too much.  The flashbacks are sometimes hard to follow.  The panel to panel transitions are often difficult.   The story is forgettable.  The story seems to focus more on Merlin than on Arthur -- but neither one of them seems particularly sympathetic.  And because the story tries to inject more excitement by bombarding us with demons and witches and dragons, we never get the gritty world of medieval England -- which I think is necessary if we hope to see Camelot rise above it and bring justice and prosperity to the land.  There may be a really good King Arthur graphic novels out there, but this isn't it.  I can't even recommend that it for a classroom library as a gateway to books like The Once and Future King or The Acts of  King Arthur and his Noble Knights.  I think it would be easier to start student readers on the books themselves.
So I guess I'll keep searching and hoping.

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