This week, the comic book shelves holds a treat for anyone who loves a good wizard detective story. That's right, Harry Dresden is back in the comic pages, this time from Dynamite Entertainment.
Issue 1 of “Fool Moon” is the first installment of a comic adaptation of the novel by the same name.
Jim Butcher, author of The Dresden Files series of books, is the primary author for the comics, and that is a wonderful thing. He knows Harry and the other characters completely, as well as the stories. He is the perfect person to adapt his work.
This issue covers the first several chapters of the novel, and does a nice job overall. Naturally, little things have to be cut for space, but writers Butcher and Mark Powers are staying very true to the story. It helps that Butcher knows just which little things will be important later, and what can be safely removed.
“Fool Moon” starts out strong, and pulls in the reader from the opening pages. The writing is compelling, and moves forward at just the right pace. Also, the decision of where to end the first issue was great, leaving the reader definitely wondering what happens next. Too often I see failed cliffhangers in comic mini-series that only frustrate the readers, and that certainly was not the case here.
Artist Chase Conley has done a wonderful job capturing the atmosphere of both Chicago and the special world that Harry inhabits. There is both a strength and a subtlety to Conley's art.
The characters are drawn very powerfully, a reflection of how they are written, and not just their expressions but their stance and movement are just right. This is important in a character driven story such as this, and Conley has risen to the challenge.
Back in 2008, “Welcome to the Jungle” was published by Dabel Brothers Publishing. Also written by Butcher, this mini-series was a prequel to the first Dresden Files novel, “Storm Front.”
The issues were collected into a graphic novel, which includes an introduction from Butcher. In this, he states what he claims was a “secret” about this series of books: “In my head, it's always been an animated cartoon. In fact, when I'm writing it, I actually see panels from a comic book – sorry, graphic novel – in my mind's eye.”
To me, this explains why these translate so well into this format. Often times, it seems that writers of novels don't take the world of comics and graphic novels seriously, and it's refreshing to see writes such as Butcher (and Stephen King, with his close association with Marvel Comics over the years) embrace this art form.
Even with only one issue released to date, I highly recommend “Fool Moon.” Perhaps you are already familiar with The Dresden Files and want to experience them visually, or maybe you are new to Butcher's work and believe you are too busy to read novels and like the shorter format.
Perhaps you're like me, and you wish the television show had not been canceled. No matter why, I think if you enjoy fantasy, paranormal, and detective stories, then this is definitely for you. This is a great way to enjoy the world of Harry Dresden.
About the Author