The Last Unicorn (Graphic Novel adaptation)
Publisher: Idea & Design WorksPublished: January 25, 2011Pages: 152Received: NetGalley
Since it was first published in 1968, Beagle's beloved fantasy novel has been made into a stage play and a film—and now this gorgeous, emotive graphic novel adaptation. Set in a fully realized but slightly tongue-in-cheek fantasy world that has inspired everything from The Princess Bride to Stardust, Beagle's story is a romantic fable about a regal unicorn who leaves the forest she has protected since time immemorial to find more of her kin. After a short spell of imprisonment by a witch's traveling circus, she journeys onward with an accident-prone magician, hoping to find the answer to her quest in the land of a coldhearted king and a monstrously fearsome red bull. Along the way, the unicorn and her good-hearted but hapless companion have many encounters, including one with a Robin Hood–esque group of bandits who seem dropped in from a Monty Python skit. Beagle's sumptuously descriptive writing, adapted ably by Gillis, casts a spell throughout, while De Liz's glowing, painterly artwork meshes perfectly with the haunting otherworldly beauty of the story.
I have never actually read the story of The Last Unicorn and after having read the graphic novel adaptation I will definitely be picking up a copy of the actual novel soon. I fell in love with the story of The Last Unicorn as a child while watching the movie adaptation. The images were drawn so beautifully, the characters so mesmerizing and the graphic novel pulls some of these elements from the movie so beautiful and stunning.
The things that I found to be different were that there were more scenes in the graphic novel than the movie (which I assume come directly from the actual book). I was a little lost at first because I thought they were adding in things that didn't happen, but I realize now that they kept things in that actually happened in the book, but were overlooked in the movie.
The characters were portrayed nicely - the unicorn herself is stylized after the character in the movie (very close in drawing), Shcmendrick looks so much nicer in the graphic novel (a little more handsome too), Molly seemed to look a lot younger than I remembered her being and Momma Fortuna was so much creepier in the graphic novel - I loved it.
It is a wonderful story of good versus evil (the unicorn versus the red bull) and also nature versus man (great example is Momma Fortuna's Midnight Carnival). The drawings completely help to set the different moods throughout the novel - which mostly consist of portraying loneliness and emptiness. Very emotional story.
The only issue I had was reading it on my ereader (the script was so small and I couldn't zoom in), so I would think that reading on a laptop or the actual hardbound book would be even more spectacular. I switched part way to my netbook (it's still so small) and realized just how gorgeous the images were in colour.