Harris-Fain, Darren: "Putting the Graphic in Graphic Novel. P. Craig Russell’s Adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline." In: Studies in the Novel 47.3 (2015), S. 335–345.
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|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: HarrisFain2015
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Keywords: "Coraline", Adaptation, Animation, Gaiman. Neil, Literature, Russell. P. Craig, Style, United Kingdom, USA
Collection: Studies in the Novel
Since entering the comics field, Neil Gaiman has worked with many artists. One of his most frequent collaborators is P. Craig Russell, who adapted Gaiman’s novel Coraline into a graphic novel. It is a faithful adaptation; what makes it particularly interesting is its art. Russell is best known for his detailed, realistic style based on photographed models, which he employs in Coraline. This realistic treatment stands in contrast to the novel’s original cover and its illustrations as well as the stop-motion puppets in the 2009 film. In the art accompanying the novel and in the movie, Coraline and the other characters are depicted in a cartoonish fashion. The decision to use a realistic or a cartoonish style is important. According to Will Eisner and Scott McCloud, cartoon art can contribute to reader identification with characters more than realistic art, suggest a removal from reality in the narrative, and can distance the reader from the narrative. Realistic art, by contrast, leads to readers seeing characters as more like real people who are different from them and can lead to a greater sense of the story’s plausibility. Russell has employed a cartoonish style for other literary adaptations, so he clearly chose a realistic style for Coraline because he thought a realistic approach was better suited for his vision of Gaiman’s book as a graphic novel. This essay explores how this choice changes the experience of Gaiman’s story in comparison to the novel and the film, using Eisner’s and McCloud’s analyses for support in addition to examples from all three versions of the story.
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