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4.3 out of 5 stars
Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
As far as the narrative is concerned, this adaptation is fine. The visual interpretation, on the other hand, is so far off Gaiman's descriptions that it's impossible to enjoy. Just seeing how the character of Door is portrayed demonstrates the problem. Gaiman describes her as being small and pixieish, dressed in layers of clothes as well as an oversized leather jacket to 'disappear' into when she is feeling vulnerable. This highly-sexualized version of Door looks more like a refugee from the X-Men by way of Mad Max with her bustier, garterbelt, large breasts and bare midriff on display. The concealing leather jacket has turned into a Matrix-like leather trenchcoat which constantly flaps out behind her. Just because it's fantasy subject matter told in graphic novel form doesn't mean it has to use the visual guidebook of superhero titles where characters are all buff and either wear skintight outfits or show as much skin as possible. I haven't even mentioned the tattoo of a keyhole over her eye. Very subtle. This isn't just a matter of slightly different interpretations. The way the characters are described by Gaiman are part of what defines them and their actions. Very disappointing
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
I tried to read the publication, but couldn't stomach it. It takes the story out of order, removes chapters, and adds dialogue and detail that contradicts the original Novel; it's worse than anything Hollywood could have done to it. Read the original novel. Also, the BBC miniseries isn't bad.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
I've never read Neil Gaiman's original novel, but its graphic novel adaptation is an interesting fantasy as told from the viewpoint of a mousy man from London. Richard is a working man, pushed around by his boss, led by the neck from Jessica, his hard-as-nails fiancé. After working 11 hour days he spends his nights eating TV dinners and watching TV.

One day he finds a woman on the streets of London. She's just jumped through a dimensional portal you know, being chased by hit men Croup and Vandemar. He takes her in over the objections of Jessica and nurses Door (yes, that's her name) to health.

In doing so, he becomes an un-person, no one knows he's there. His only hope is to follow Door and hope that he can get his life back, as mundane as it is.

I enjoyed the art by Glenn Fabry very much. The large monster panels of the Beast of London, the large Angel Islington and the realistic blood and the decadent Floating Market are drawn in great detail.

The only thing I did not like was the slow pace of plot. There were not a lot of fight scenes, and not a lot of explanation of the characters and who they were, except for Door. We do learn of Door's family, their power to create doors to anywhere, the ritual slaughter of her family and she, as the survivor, out for vengeance.

The "employer" who hired Croup and Vandemar to kill off Door and her family was revealed mid-novel. And the surprise ending was not all that surprising. The innocence of Richard Mayhew (the story is told from his point of view) does get a bit annoying at times.

Overall, a decent read. I will probably read the original novel and compare to the graphic novel. Writer Mike Carey makes a good point that the graphic novel was never made to be a substitution of the original but to stand on its own as its own story. I can agree to that.

Recommended!

Other Graphic Novels from Neil Gaiman:

Coraline: The Graphic Novel
The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes
Coraline Graphic Novel
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19 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
As any avid book-lover will tell you, concrete images of the characters invariably form in the reader's imagination as a story unfolds. Defined by the author only by adjectives and actions in stark black-and-white, their appearances will still become solid reality that, in some cases, cannot be jarred.

My wife is pretty unshakeable on the subject. Once she gets a picture in her head, she doesn't want any casting director or comic-book illustrator to muck about with her imagined view. So she approached the new comic-book adaptation of "Neverwhere" -- her fourth favorite Neil Gaiman novel, she told me, but the one she's read most often -- with extreme reluctance. She put it down a few pages in, disheartened by unavoidable differences in perspective.

I know how she feels, but I'm a little more fluid in my view. For me, Simon Jones and David Dixon made the perfect Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect in BBC's 1981 adaptation of Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," and yet I was still able to enjoy the very different look in the 2005 Hollywood version starring Martin Freeman and Mos Def in the roles. Similarly, Gary Bakewell and Laura Fraser, while they didn't match my preconceived view of "Neverwhere" characters Richard Mayhew and Door, were perfectly acceptable in the roles in that BBC miniseries. And I'm equally comfortable with artist Glenn Fabry's interpretation in the new comic-book collection.

Call me wishy-washy if you must, but I'm adaptable. Take the thuggish Croup and Vandemar, the truly evil pair that dogs Door's heels for much of the story. The BBC series and Fabry's artistic rendering couldn't be more dissimilar, and yet they're both right, in the greater context of the story. Both versions seem to suit Gaiman's vision, if not my own.

And for me, that's what matters. I don't care if they match my view of the characters, but I do care how well the story is told. And this story, adapted from Gaiman's original novel by Mike Carey and illustrated by Fabry, is told well.

Hell, it's great. Carey successfully boiled the novel down to its most necessary elements, retaining the flavor and flow of the story with far fewer pages to work with. A lot has been lost, sure, but he's retained the essence of Gaiman's narrative -- and the novel is still out there for anyone who wants to read the full work.

by Tom Knapp, Rambles.(n e t) editor
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
I haven't seen the BBC series of Neverwhere so can't comment on how that vision of Gaiman's marvellous story differs from Fabry's but I do like Fabry's vision very much. The way his characters look has largely replaced whatever mental images I formed when first reading the novel. He does make an awful lot of minor changes to the novel though, in both dialog and narrative. Even little things like giving Angelus wings when Gaiman specifically said he didn't have wings grate because it is just unnecessary. I do love Fabry's version of Down street though, it's even better than the original.
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on September 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
A great interpretation of a great novel, Neverwhere the graphic novel was a believeable and steady interpretation of the novel in a format, size, and artistically appropriate approach. I think that the main elements of the text that fans of Gaiman care about were masterfully executed by the artists and the colorists working on the graphics, and some elements such as the variety of applications of Marquis de Carabas were impressive and solid. I think that it is an incredibly difficult road to interpreting a novel into any other medium, and the artists and writers involved in this one did an acceptable job. The art was beautiful, the story wasn't missing anything, and I appreciated the work that went into the piece as a whole. I only feel like I wish it were a bit longer, but I also understand graphic novel adaptations do tend to be significantly shorter as a genre.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
I meant to get the actual book out of the library, but instead they sent me this. But I decided I might as well read it while I had it. I was immediately hooked and finished it in one evening.

So unlike probably most people here, I am unable to compare the comic book adaptation to the original. But I can say that this is a great book on its own - the story flows, and the illustrations are gorgeous and amazingly creative. Definitely a piece of art!
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on June 22, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is one of my favorite novels so I was really hoping the graphic novelization of it would do it justice. I was not disappointed. It captured the cluelessness of the main protagonist, the chilling methodical creepiness of the antogonists henchmen and most importantly of all, the vibrant setting it all takes place in.
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on December 10, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I have read the original book and I know the artist has taken some liberties from the original descriptions but for once I am glad because he took it to another twisted and otherworldly level, one Gaiman can only approve of.
Some of the illustrations reminded me of dreams I've had, maybe this is a real place?
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Since Neil Gaiman was basically one of the architects behind DC's mature themed Vertigo line, it shouldn't be a surprise that one of his novels would be adapted into comic form. Hellblazer and Lucifer writer Mike Carey is charged with adapting Gaiman's Neverwhere novel into comic form, with Glenn Fabry providing the art. The first thing you'll notice is how successfully Carey is in transfering Gaiman's work to the comic page; managing to retain the theme and atmosphere that Gaiman created in his novel. There is a bit of sacrificing some story elements to manage to fit everything into this TPB, but Carey still manages to hit the ball out of the park in this department. As far as Fabry's art goes, you'll either dig it or you won't, and his renditions of the Neverwhere characters are hit and miss. That aside, this adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere should satisfy fans of his novel, and for those who have never read the book and only know Gaiman through his celebrated comic creations should give a look to the original novel and this more than solid comic adaptation both.
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