By: George R.R. Martin (story), Daniel Abraham (adaptation), Tommy Patterson (art), Marshall Dillon (letters) & Ivan Nunes (colors)
The Story: About midway through the first novel we find the Imp hanging out with the Night Watch and Ned Stark in King’s Landing.
Quick Review: Now that the second season of HBO’s excellent Game of Thrones TV show is underway, it makes sense to touch base with the comic adaptation of the first novel in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series.
The story itself kinda “it is what it is.” This is a straight adaptation from the novels, so there aren’t any surprises to be found. Adapting a novel like GoT is always going to be tricky because knowing what to include, what to leave out and when to add breaks between issues is always going to be an inexact science. Much like Marvel’s adaptation of Stephen King novels, this comic is kinda written for a whole different audience than the “Wednesday crowd.” This is a comic to have on your pull list to share with a significant other or family members who have enjoyed the TV show or the novels. Plus, it’ll make a splendid collected edition someday that’ll sell well in the bookstore.
The main attraction for me is seeing how comfortable artist Tommy Patterson is becoming with the characters. As a fan of the TV show, it is a little hard to remove the mental image of Sean Bean as Ned Stark, but I think Patterson has made a wise choice – doubtless with input from Martin – to go for a distinctive look. Without a distinctive look, there wouldn’t be a lot of point to the comic series. The art is still straight-forward and direct and that’s appropriate for the target market who aren’t going to know what to make of more experimental comic art that only appeals to the hardcore crowd (can you imagine Bill Sienkiewicz doing a book for this crowd?). Patterson also has a LOT of really strong work in here– and he’s only gotten better since issue #1. He’s pretty much nailing any character who is over 4 feet tall and also doing a wonderful job with all the buildings, wolves, catapults, etc… that are probably a real pain in the butt to draw. He does have a few issues drawing Tyrion Lannister, but I can’t imagine that drawing a dwarf is very easy. How would artists get good at drawing dwarfs? I’m sure there are exactly zero dwarfs disrobing for the still-life art classes where artists learn how to draw. Plus, who knows what Tyrion really looks like? Maybe Peter Dinklage is too burned into my brain?
The only other quibble with the art is that the coloring is a little inconsistent. The outdoor scenes in the snowy Northlands are very nicely colored, but many of the other scenes look a little too bright and clean. I can’t escape how dirty and gritty everything looks in the TV show and think these characters should look a little dirtier. The coloring should make it look like Ned Stark has B.O.
Conclusion: This remains to be a good series to pick up for a non-comic fan who enjoys Game of Thrones. By playing the material and the art very straight, it will give new readers what they expect and perhaps make them fall in love with comics.
Grade: B (mostly because the story is too choppy in single issues)
– Dean Stell