The Hobbit – Charles Dixon & Sean Denning

HobbitThis is somewhere between an illustrated children’s book and a graphic novel. It follows the plot of J R R Tolkien novel closely and remains faithful to the spirit of the work.

The text starts off identical to the source material but eventually you notice truncations and omissions in order to reduce the length of this volume. The Hobbit was originally published in 1937 and is set in a fantasy world resulting in some unusual and clunky uses of language. The odd typo and unfortunate punctuation don’t improve in this.

The art is beautiful, hand drawn and lovingly watercoloured. The panels and layout are irregular and there is a great deal of bleeding of the art and speech between frames. This gives the book a wonderfully cosy and quirky feel to it. This was originally three books that have been collected into one. The first starts off slowly with big open panels showcasing the wonderful illustrations and is mostly dialogue serving to build character. By the third book the panels are much smaller, dialogue is sparse and the pages are crammed with boxes and boxes of narration that feel lifted straight from Tolkien. It is almost as if the writers ran out of room and had to cram everything into a shorter page count.

The large cast of Dwarves appear almost identical and little is done in terms of speech or art to differentiate them. Intermittently you will spot different colours of hat but only Thorin and occasionally Balin get special treatment. The pictures are there to accompany the text and never get the opportunity to tell the story on their own. The narration text boxes are all in different colours making you spend an inordinate amount of time looking for a pattern or code only to conclude it is merely the colourist’s whim.

It is too long for a single reading session, has no clear breaks to pause and doesn’t convey that the story takes place over a number of months. The sheer amount of text on the page by the latter third of the book is also a crying shame.

No Thumbs today!


Tomorrow: Rust 2 – Royden Lepp

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