Q: Denise, you've had tremendous success writing crime novels for over a decade. What about the comic book industry or medium keeps you coming back?
A: I'm lucky enough to get to do what I call a "joy project" once or twice a year. Writing novels is hard work and can feel a bit of a grind sometimes so usually I write a play or a comic or a documentary and I was just thinking about how I'd love to do some more comics when this came up. It's such a different form of storytelling from prose, it really refreshes me.
Q: What is different between writing a crime graphic novel, such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, versus crime novels?
A: Well, comics are such a stripped back from of narrative, there's nowhere to hide shoddy plotting or confusion. No character can go off and have a realization when you haven't plotted properly, no character can suddenly change their mind, everything has to be on the page and shown in action. That's very different. In this instance The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo wasn't my story either so I already knew what was going to happen, which I don't usually when I'm writing a novel. It's much easier!
Q: What type of obstacles, if any, did you face in adapting such a popular and iconic book in modern literary fiction?
A: I think you have to forget how much people love these books and just get on with trying to make it work for you and your editor. They are the fresh pair of eyes that can tell you when something is tedious or doesn't work. That sounds arrogant but you'd be paralyzed otherwise.
Q: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has more than a few scenes of graphic violence, especially toward women. Has it been difficult writing these types of scenes for the graphic page as opposed to the printed one?
A: I think it's easier actually. I tried to use panels that show the attack from the woman's point of view and use the visual language or graphic scenes—the bum shots, the twisted face into camera, the full body shots—only during the attack on the male character. It was a way of disorientating the reader and making them uncomfortable because visuals of sex are so familiar [...] that they often appear in visuals of sexual attacks. From the victim's point of view there's nothing sexual about that sort of thing.
Q: Lisbeth Salander is one of the most complicated and fascinating fictional characters in the last decade. What do you feel is the most essential aspect to her?
A: She has a hundred different defense mechanisms: disguise, aggression, hacking, etc., and she has finally found a way to make them work for her in the world.
Q: Do you find yourself adapting your writing differently to each artists on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Andrea Mutti and Leonardo Manco, and to their their creative strengths?
A: Not really. I can only describe the images in my head but they always do visuals that surprise and delight me. I'm not really that visual, I tend to think in words.
Q: You've worked on a monthly comic book (John Constantine: Hellblazer), as well as a few graphic novels. What is the difference between the two?
A: Well, a monthly has to have a narrative arc that spans twenty-two pages and then adds up to form another distinct arc for six episodes for the trade paperback. The graphic novels are a scoosh compared to that, believe me. Also the monthly comics have to be written to a very strict episodic schedule and graphic novels, not so much.
Q: So far, you've worked on a few projects for Vertigo, including John Constantine: Hellblazer, as well as the Vertigo Crime original graphic novel A Sickness in the Family. Could you ever envision yourself working on something for the mainstream DC Universe?
A: I'd give anything a go, with the proviso that if I make a hash of it they don't use it. Comic editors can be pretty straightforward and I think they'd tell you!
Q: What do you hope that part one of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo communicates that the novel or film did not?
A: In the book Salander's mother has been beaten half to death by her father and is brain damaged because of it. This didn't really come over in the films (in the American version her mother isn't in it). I think this is hugely significant and she cannot let herself be a victim, which is what makes her a hero.
The two pages Leo Manco has done for this are the best pages of graphic art I think I've ever read. I can't even imagine how that could be done in any other medium, either.
I absolutely loved the Millennium Trilogy, and the graphic novels really add a lot to it.
The movies tore through plot details very quickly, and not too coherently, leaving many (myself not included) a bit disorientated.
Manco and Mutti's art is beautiful,and Denise Mina's adaptation is great: she makes all the boring bits from the book interesting.
Beautiful book. Great story, amazing art! This is a awesome addition to my collection. The cover art alone is worth the price of admission!Published 5 months ago by MarK Klein
I would rather a black and white comic with more pages and story details than a pretty colored one that doesn't touch on many subjects the novels did.Published 9 months ago by sarcasticRock
It is nicely put together, and it has many drawings, but I think it fails at putting a good story together. The full length book, or the film I think do a better job.Published 10 months ago by etienne
(Trigger warning for discussions of rape.)
Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy gets the graphic novel treatment in this adaptation penned by Denise Mina. Read more
This is part one of an adaptation of the first book in Stieg Larsson's Dragon Tattoo trilogy, one that seems to be more of a graphic companion to the actual novels rather than... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Ozzy
I love this graphic novel! I've read the books (a few thousand times) and watched the American film. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Lexi
I felt cheated, I never saw anything about this being what I received. Not only was it NOT the book I expected, it is a comic strip that is not even the entire book. Read morePublished 15 months ago by AMIZON
I've read the books and this follows those very closely, the story and art were all good. There is however nothing exceptional about the book though and I might not get the... Read morePublished 15 months ago by tony