Feb 3, 2012

About Books Blog 56 - Complete Alice in Wonderland


Author: Lewis Carroll 
Adapted by: John Reppion and Leah Moore 
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Classic 

Favorite Line 

“I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is 'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle!” 

 Summary (from Barnes and Nobel)

Take one stubborn and opinionated young girl. Add an overactive imagination. Shake in a heavy mix of puzzling and bizarre guides. Reduce all morals and lessons to the nonsensical degree and send it all on a journey to nowhere... These are the ingredients that Lewis Carroll combined to create a fairy tale unlike any other.

Dynamite Entertainment is proud to present for all ages The Complete Alice in Wonderland, the most vivid adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s genre bursting tales of young Alice and her Adventures in Wonderland.

My Thoughts

I want to like Alice in Wonderland. I really do. The fact is that it bothers me. It wasn’t always that way. As a child I thought it was quite a lovely tale. Then I re-read it sometime in my late teens and I suddenly found it unsettling.

I started to notice that the story made zero sense. All the characters are mean beyond measure. Except for Alice of course, she’s quite nice. A little eccentric...but she’s still pleasant. I don’t know why all the other characters have to yell at her so much. I do like the bit of the story with the mad tea party. On the other hand, I find the part where the Duchess sings about beating her baby when he sneezes decidedly disturbing. I unexplainable issues with the mock turtle section as well. I like Through The Looking Glass better. Living chess pieces are awesome. Sometimes all the poetry gets on my second nerve. Though there are one or two poems I do enjoy. It’s safe to say that I have mixed feelings when it comes to Alice’s adventures. The nonsense of it all makes my head spin.

 Despite my qualms I decided I wanted to give it another try. Like I said, I really do want to like it. I found this graphic novel version of Alice in Wonderland and thought this was the perfect way to give it a chance. After all I haven’t met a graphic novel adaptation that I didn’t like. Not yet anyway. The complete Alice in Wonderland is a collection of four comic issues telling the whole tale from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass. It even includes the lost chapter from the second book “A Wasp In A Wig.” Obviously not everything from the novels ended up the comic. Still so much of it remain true to the original material. I thought the authors did an excellent job at converting it graphic novel form. The artwork is so beautiful that I bought it for that factor alone.

I did like the story a better in this format. However, I couldn’t shake the fact that Lewis Carroll’s original tale disturbs and annoys me just the slightest bit. I did get some insight while doing research for this review. Alice in Wonderland is classified under the genre nonsensical literature. A writing form, which focuses on wordplay and the well...general lack of logical reasoning. So the author wasn’t insane. Alice in Wonderland is actually supposed to make no sense. Somehow understanding the concept of the story has helped me realize that maybe I’ve been taking it too seriously all along. Alice in Wonderland might not be exactly my cup of tea but this graphic novel was certainly worth buying and keeping in my library for re-reading.

Interesting Facts

Lewis Carroll was Charles Dodgeson’s writing pseudonym. Not only was he a writer but he was also a mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon, and a photographer.

The original manuscript of the book was entitled Alice’s Adventures Underground.

The character Alice is said to take her name from the real life figure Alice Liddell. The poem in Though The Looking Glass “A Boat Beneath A Sunny Sky” is an acrostic poem that spells her name.

There is said to be a hidden code in the chess theme of Through the Looking Glass. It has something to do with Alice Liddell and references to Dodgeson's favorite number 42. It's a very LOST like theory isn't it? Ha ha!

One of the authors of this graphic novel adaptation, Leah Moore, is the the daughter of renowned comic creator Alan Moore, who wrote such works as Watchmen. She and her husband, John Reppion, also collaborated on a story for the graphic novel Comic Book Tattoo. Ironically I have reviewed both Watchmen and Comic Book Tattoo.

 Movies and TV

 There are quite a few movies and television depictions of this novel considering it has been adapted again and again since 1903. This is a quick overview of the ones I’ve seen. Forgive me if some of my recollections are a little foggy. I haven’t watched some of these since I was a child.

 The 1951 Disney animated film of Alice in Wonderland was of course my first experience with the tale. The movie combines elements from both the first and second book which was a lovely choice. The songs are full of wit. I love “The Unbirthday Song.”

When I was young they used to play and old version of Alice and Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass on TV all the time. I remember really loving both films but I can’t figure out what year they were made. I don’t think it is 1966 version. Hmm...Maybe it was the 1972 version. I also use to watch a re-watch a version of Alice in Wonderland that I had on tape. This one depicted Alice as a teen and had so stop motion elements I believe. Gosh, I don’t know when that was made either. Curiouser and curiouser. Warned you that I was fuzzy on some the details.

I do remember enjoying the Disney TV series Adventures in Wonderland in the 90’s. I thought it was darn cute. I was nice that Alice could step through the looking glass and have her unusual friends help her solve her problems. I haven’t seen it since then. I kind of miss it.

In 2009 the Syfy channel came out with a science fiction re-imagining of the story in their two part mini-series Alice. If you’re wanting something true to the book this movie isn’t it. It’s one of those things where you have to play find the relationship to the original material game. If you want some creative steampunk with some entertaining acting performances, Alice is a nice choice. The first part of the series was a little slow, but the second part was pretty fast paced. It’s one of the the better Syfy original movies. 

There is of course Tim Burton’s 2010 adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. I wouldn’t say it was my favorite Tim Burton film. The only reason I didn’t completely love it is because it gave me that feel you get when reading the second book in a series without reading the first. Does that make any since? I couldn’t really get into the way the screenplay was written. Even so it has really cool imagery, and awesome actors doing awesomely. I would watch it again. However, never again in 3D. I had a headache for two hours after seeing in 3D in the theater. Perhaps the imagery was just too over powering in three dimensions. 

Lastly if you are looking for something not Wonderland exactly, but related to it you can take a look at the film Dreamchild. The movie centers around fictionalized flashbacks of an elderly Alice Liddell, primarily focusing on her childhood around the time the book was written. I watched this several years ago. I vaguely remember it was pretty good. The only thing I strongly remember about it was this creepy flashback/dream about the “mad tea party.” That part totally freaked me out. I haven’t watched it since, but maybe I should try it again. 

 Music To Read By 

I didn’t listen to any music. I just enjoyed reading though the television commercials this time around. I was going to make a playlist containing all the songs written that are based on the book . Then I found a web page that listed 20 songs inspired by Alice in Wonderland. I thought why not just link you to that page. It even includes songs with music videos based on Alice in Wonderland. That is way more awesome than the playlist I had planed. 

That is all my darlings. This was a long one and a link extravaganza. Now you see why it took me so long to post it. Sorry for the wait. Happy reading and keep it shiny!


Josette said...

Wow, an Alice in Wonderland graphic novel. I'd love to get a copy of it though I haven't actually read the novel yet.

I liked the interesting facts part too! :) Alice in Wonderland sounds better than the Underground one. Kids wouldn't be too attracted to it then.

LoriStrongin said...

YES. This is the EXACT reason I'm not a die-hard Wonderland fact. Everyone *is* really mean, and I never realized until now that that was what I didn't like about it so much!!!

Though I will admit I am a fan of the Jabberwocky and that I actually did like the reimagining Burton did with that poem/story.