Not all comicbooks are created equal. Once upon a time, it was a better than even chance that if you picked up a comicbook it was going to be starring a superhero. To be sure, there have been cycles in the comicbook marketplace, Westerns, Bug Eyed Monsters, War, Horror, and even TV personalities all have their season in the sun, but throughout it all, it has been the superhero that has really stood at the forefront of the comicbook marketplace here in the U.S.
However, as often as that wheel turns, it does (albeit slowly) turn. Take, for instance the case of Dynamite Entertainment, a company that is not afraid to shake things up and go against “conventional wisdom” (that only superheroes sell). For its part, Dynamite has consistently sought to attempt the path less traveled, and looked to publish something different. Among the genrés that Dynamite has tried, and have more of a literary bent. That is to say, the company has done more than its fare share of attempting to adapt prose fiction into comics. Over the years this has resulted in a mixed bag of results, but still, that has never dissuaded the company from trying something different, and should be commended for attempting to continue to adapt prose fiction into the comic book form.
Among the various books that Dynamite has adapted over the years are the following:
Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time is an epic fantasy that begins at the dawn of time, and involvs a deity known as the Creator, who forged the universe and the Wheel of Time, which, as it turns, spins all lives. The Wheel has seven spokes, each representing an age, and it rotates under the influence of the One Power, which flows from the True Source.
L.A. Bank’s Vampire Hunters revolves around a woman known as Damali Richards, who is a human who was born in order to fight the Dark Realms which are mostly comprised of vampires. Richards and her compatriots have marshaled their forces to combat the darkness and save the Earth.
Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson delves into the dark underworld of mythological creatures, centering on Thompson, who walks between the two worlds, without quite belonging to either. Her world is populated by not just vampires but werewolves, and other magical beings as well. While Briggs’ Alpha and Omega: Cry Wolf is the story of Anna who never realized that werewolves existed until the night she survived a violent wolf attack…becoming one herself. At first she attempted to simply keep her head down and never trust dominant males. However Anna eventually realizes that she is an Omega — and one of the most powerful werewolves in the country recognizes her value as both a pack member, and as a potential mate.
Anne Elizabeth’s Pulse of Power follows Tia Stanton who is something more than she seems; born from a mystical rite, Tia is birthed into a world where chaos and organization run side-by-side; where monsters and men live in an uneasy unison. That is until a fight breaks out to gain access to the pool of power lying beneath her hometown of Greenwich, Conn, which — naturally enough — coincides with her 25th birthday and her final opportunity to accept the full mantel of her supernatural power. At stake in all of this is (quite literally) the fate of the entire world.
Dean Koontz’s Fear Nothing, Frankenstein: Prodigal Son, & Nevermore, are three series from the prolific Koontz That Dynamite has launched, Fear Nothing follows Christopher Snow, as he discovers and attempts to unravel a mysterious and seemingly endless conspiracy centered around a military compound called Fort Wyvern. If you think you know the legend of the monster Frankenstein, then you know only half the truth. For with Prodigal Son comes the mystery, the myth, the terror, and the magic of what “really” happened. Nevermore is the story of Bobby Godric who seems to be able to do whatever he sets his mind to, except save his beloved wife, Nora, from brain cancer. Still Bobby won’t allow death to stand between him and his one true love. So he devotes his vast fortune to finding another Earth, only things don’t so much turn out as he expects.
Buddha: A Tale Of Enlightenment is the tale by NY Times bestselling author Deepak Chopra who brings Buddha back to life in a stunning graphic novel that is an adaptation of the of The New York Times Bestselling novel about a young prince who abandons his inheritance to discover his true calling.
From George R.R. Martin Dynamite brings a pair of series, Wild Cards: The Hard Call and A Game of thrones. The first series occurs in 1946 when an alien virus is accidentally unleashed which forever alters the world. Most of the infected perish horrifically, 90% of the survivors mutate into deformed creatures that are hated and feared. Still’ a precious handful of the infected are lucky enough to gain superpowers allowing them to super powerful abilities. While Game of thrones adapts Martin’s bestselling book as well as the hit HBO fantasy drama.
Jim Butcher's Dresden Files is a series of contemporary fantasy/mystery stories that follow private investigator and wizard Harry Dresden, as he recounts investigations into supernatural disturbances in modern-day Chicago. Other literary works that Dynamite has adapted into comic form include The Complete Alice in Wonderland, The Complete Dracula, and Sherlock Holmes, As well as bringing Robert A. Howard’s seminal female barbarian warrior Red Sonja back into comics.
While several of these books admittedly don’t have the (comicbook) name-recognition or (Hollywood) draw of some of today’s top-selling comics currently enjoying blockbuster films, all of them are well-written and illustrated by top-flight writers and artists, and all offer intriguing concepts that could potentially expand the borders of comics. Furthermore, with the publication each of these literary titles turned comics; Dynamite seeks to bring new readers into the medium by hooking them from alternate forms of media, which, ultimately, is a good thing for both the comics industry in general and Dynamite Entertainment in particular.
Robert J. Sodaro has been writing articles and reviews for some 30 years. During that time, his reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular literature and book reviews.