“A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel,” is as full of delight and mystery as the original book. Hope Larson, known for wonderfully ethereal comics like “Salamander Dream,” “Gray Horses,” and “Chiggers,” has taken the beloved classic work by Madeleine L’engle and honored it by embracing it with a fresh approach. In the hands of Larson, the characters come to life in a timeless yet contemporary way. There is Meg, the brilliant but insecure teen; Charles Wallace her little brother, who acts as her mentor; and Calvin, the trustworthy beau to Meg. A story like this, meant for children but easily enjoyed by adults, requires a healthy leap of faith. We get that right away with Meg. She is presented to us as a lovely and vulnerable being by Larson. In no time at all, we want to know more.
If you’ve read the original book or if you’re new to it, this version of “A Wrinkle in Time,” will delight you. What makes this graphic novel work is the character development that Larson did ahead of working on the book. Throughout, the characters are vibrant without any false notes. We can jump right in and enjoy a style that is both energetic and comforting. Larson’s mastery of the comics medium allows her to be spare when she needs to be and provide complexity with well chosen marks. In a less seasoned hand, the characters could have fallen into the trap of being generic and lifeless. With Larson, the suspension of disbelief is left intact. The only quibble that I would have regards some of the interactions between the characters. At some points, there is a conflict that seems to be abruptly resolved. Maybe that speaks to the flexibility of children.
This is a story about how things seem and about how things really are. A big part of the plot revolves around a daughter’s hunger for her father. How will she find him when there is so much deception in the way? “Daddy abandoned you.” “Daddy is a failure.” “Daddy never cared about you.” Meg must navigate through all of this if she can ever progress. There are many challenges to confront along with her father hunger that reach all the way to her very existence. We are all particles in a delicately balanced field. What to make of that? If Meg can see the deception regarding her father for what it is, she can then move on to seeing the world as it really is. She must trust her senses. She must trust herself. Ultimately, Meg will need to rely on every last fiber of her humanity to get her where she needs to be.
“A Wrinkle in Time” stands today as a very unusual and outspoken work. Essentially, the outspoken stuff is all about putting things in perspective and finding the power of love to help you get there. It is the gentle and very honest philosophy found in this book that has gained it the status of being a banned book in certain schools and libraries. Is there really something controversial to be found here? Well, that depends on one’s level of enlightenment, I suppose. For many of us, it is simply a cherished book and this new graphic novel version is a most welcome adaptation.
“A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel” is published by Farrar Straus Giroux and Margaret Ferguson Books. Visit them here. It is a 392-page hardcover, priced at $19.99 US. Learn more about Madeleine L’Engle and her work here. And visit Hope Larson here.
If you’re in Austin, Texas, on Friday or Saturday, October 26 – 27, stop by and meet Hope Larson at the Austin Books & Comics booth at Wizard World Comic Con. Some press release stuff for you:
Hope Larson Signing
A Wrinkle In Time
@ Wizard World Austin Books Booth
Friday & Saturday 3 – 6pm
Friday and Saturday we will be joined by Hope Larson, who will have copies of her beautiful graphic novel adaptation of the classic novel A Wrinkle In Time. We’ll also have copies of her previous works Gray Horses, Chiggers, and Mercuryavailable for signing.
Friday the 26th 3 – 6pm
Saturday the 27th 3 – 6pm