10. Maggie Vaults Over the Moon by Grant Overstake
"A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel" by George R. R. Martin
George R.R. Martin, reverently nicknamed “the American Tolkien,” has me in his thrall.
All 5 of the books in Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series live comfortably on my bookshelf, loved and a bit tattered, and I tune in to the hit HBO show every Sunday. My iPod’s wallpaper is a picture of Jon Snow and his direwolf, Ghost. If I weren’t technologically illiterate, I’d have the show’s super-cool theme song set as my ring tone and call myself.
If I’m such a fan, how could I pass up the comic book version of such a fantastic story?
For those who aren’t familiar with the books, “A Game of Thrones” is set in a fantasy world called Westeros, where seasons can last for years, and winter is fast approaching. The principal characters are members of noble families, in particular Houses Stark, Lannister, Baratheon, and Targaryen, who are all vying for control of the Iron Throne. What makes it interesting for an adult fantasy is that the driving forces in the story are the children of the lords and ladies of the respective houses, and these kids are anything but cute and cuddly (for example, sadistic pretty-boy Prince Joffrey. Grr, I can’t stand that kid!).
When I first cracked the cover of this book, I was stunned by Tommy Patterson’s gorgeous artwork. For a brutal story of politics and war set in a world very much like medieval Europe, the linework is surprisingly graceful, and even rough characters such as the Mongol-like warrior Khal Drogo and the obese king Robert Baratheon are crafted with a gentle stroke of the pen. Each character is distinct, where sometimes comic artists seem to use templates for the human form, and their individual personalities pierce through their facial expressions.
The “A Game of Thrones” graphic novel is ideal for those who love the television show, but are a bit daunted by the size of the novels (for those who haven’t seen them, the paperbacks look like paperweights). The first volume of collected comics, it encompasses the first fifth of the first novel in the series. I have tried my hand at adapting tales to comic form (albeit in a spiral notebook during French class, scribbling away for the fifty-cents-a-page that my best friend would use to bribe me into drawing her stories) and believe me, it takes a dedicated person to break down such a tangled plot with several narrators. The team that put “A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel” in my hot little paws certainly deserves praise for this fine volume of work.