I just finished reading Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 1 & 2 by Stephenie Meyer and Young Kim, and I have some very mixed feelings. I haven’t read the original story by Meyer except for a few excerpts. I haven’t even seen the movies, but I have seen enough to know it isn’t my cup of tea.
However, the graphic novel adaption was done by manhwa artist, Young Kim, and her art is simply stunning. Even if you detest the original tale, I highly recommend the graphic novels for Kim’s art alone. I found myself enjoying the story, likely because of Kim’s art, but also…Nah, who am I kidding? Kim is an excellent sequential artist.
The relationship between Bella & Edward is the stuff of modern fairy tales with their strange modern paradoxes. Bella is impetuous and cheeky, yet emotionally sensitive—independent and strong, yet longs to be safe in Edward’s arms. Edward is the dark and brooding man, strong—incredibly strong—yet gentle. Patient, yet able to decisively defend. Understanding, yet enigmatic. Perfect except for that creature of the night thing he struggles with. Or perfect because he fights against his baser instincts, making him tragically noble.
Critics have complained that these characters are unrealistic, yet it is obvious from feedback from fans that these exaggerated qualities were ultimately their charm. I can’t speak for the book or movie, but this idealistic relationship worked in part because of Kim’s art. The characters were so beautifully rendered, so statuesque, that the story had a noble, old fashioned feeling despite the modern setting. Kim’s ornate manhwa style worked well with Meyer’s period romance sensibilities.
Yet what a strange, twisted romance this was. Meyer took a bad boy and scrubbed him clean until he sparkled. Edward and Bella’s relationship epitomizes the embodiment of the lies we tell ourselves when tempting fate. Like the smoker who hangs with smoking friends and trusts they will never offer her just one little drag, Edward and Bella’s relation embodies Temptation. It’s not love; it’s a needy obsession.
That’s what makes the romance creepy for me. Bella gives into her physical needs constantly, catching kisses with Edward that push him to the brink of his ability to resist. If it hadn’t been for Kim’s fabulous artwork, I may not have been able to get through the story. I really disagreed with the character motivations. But now that I know Edward represents the forbidden fruit, I can understand why so many girls wanted to make pie with this story.
Both volumes one & two are excellent adaptations (according to my more Twilight-knowledgeable daughter). The art was scrumptious. Kim drew beautiful faces with wonderful expression in the eyes, and her skill with hair was unreal. Sometimes the computer shading could be mono-tonal and lacking in depth, but overall it gave the book an airy, otherworldly feel.
The second book was not as evenly paced as the first one. There was a lot of dialog with the action feeling squeezed in at the edges. Even the artwork felt more hurried in places with quick hatch work and less time consuming computer painting as the first volume. However, it still delivered.
If you are not familiar with Twilight, these graphic novels might be a good introduction for you. Fans of the books and movies might enjoy this Stephanie Meyer approved adaptation as well.
Release Date: March 16, 2010 (vol.1, USA), October 11, 2011 (vol.2, USA)
vol.1 0759529434 (9780759529434)
vol.2 0316133191 (9780316133197)
Publisher: Yen Press
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (used as a metaphor)
Language: 1 (mild)
Sexuality: 2 (temptation, neck nuzzlin’, and smoochin’)
Violence: 3 (artistic, blood, car chases, fighting, threat of being eaten, Bella is beaten up by motion lines and sound effects. It’s very brutal.)