Comics Worth Reading is a new segment for the site, where I will highlight a series, graphic novel, or single comic issue that I feel is so good, it must be read by every comic fan. This week I wanted to start out strong, so I’m going with the 1989 graphic novelization of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
Adapted from the original text by Charles Dixon and illustrated by David Wenzel.
This adaptation is great for so many reasons. Dixon’s treatment of the text is reverent and authentic. There is no watering down of Tolkien’s story, the entire plot is kept intact. Even the dialogue and narration is taken directly from the original book. Tolkien’s trademark depth and whimsy is maintained; you see the adventure unfold through poor Bilbo’s humble eyes, a perspective that was sadly lost in the recent movie adaptation. There is no extra filler, invented by Dixon or anyone else. The true story of the simple hobbit who is drawn into a battle with goblins, dragons, and wolves is faithfully preserved (no “white orc” non-sense!)
The Hobbit graphic novel is a delight to look at. Wenzel’s artwork is truly masterful. Drawn before the onset of digital techniques, he went all out and colored his light and vivid pencil-work with lush watercolor paints. The detail and expressiveness of Bilbo and the dwarves brings the beloved characters to life. Tolkien’s precise descriptions are faithfully maintained; even Gandalf’s eyebrows stick out over the brim of his hat!
I’m happy to say that The Hobbit graphic novel is widely available, online and in many bookstores. Go snatch up yourself a copy and spend a rainy afternoon reliving the adventure.
Know of a comic that you love and want featured on the site? Hit me up here (or: adam[at]talesofmaora.com).