Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Stand graphic novels

The Stand graphic novels by Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa, 872 pages

The Stand graphic novels are a reproduction of The Stand by Stephen King. There are six parts; Captain Trips, American Nightmares, Soul Survivors, Hardcases, No Man’s Land, and The Night has Come.
The first novel introduces a plague called Captain Trips, or superplague that is killing 99.4% of the human population. It is also 99.4% transferrable so it spreads very fast. The people that end up being immune to it are the ones that the rest of the graphic novels will be about. I foolishly began reading this during flu season and when it is describing all the symptoms of the outbreak, I was noticing how many staff members and patrons also had the same symptoms. I also don’t recommend reading this after breakfast unless you have a strong stomach. The graphic detail of people’s deaths and some of the gory imagery could be too much for some.

By the second book most of the people that the flu is going to kill are dead or dying. Next comes an explosion of murders, suicides and accidents that lead to more of the population dying. The second book also has the survivors seeking for answers to not only what happened, but to the weird dreams they have all been having. Some of the dream sequences are quite vivid and are made to prey on people’s fears. While I found them to confusing at times, they are some of the best drawn imagery in the series.
Throughout the next four books they are able to place a name on the horror in their dreams; Randall Flagg. There is also a genuine good presence that people can dream about named mother Abigail. Flagg and Abigail are reaching out through the dreams and trying to get people to come to their side. Flagg represents greed and hate. Abigail stands for freedom and faith. Eventually everyone either goes to Las Vegas to join up with Flagg, or to Boulder to join up with Abigail. This leads to a massive buildup and confrontation between the two forces in a classic good vs. evil showdown.
The entire graphic novel set is very well illustrated and well written. Like all the Stephen king rewrites they were released in comic form first and the combined into collections. So each graphic novel contains around five comics, or thirty or so comics for the series. At the end of each collection is the cover art from the comics, along with rejected cover and comic sketches and even some examples of recoloring since the comic. Each collection also gives a brief introduction that explains what happened previously in case you forgot. There are also maps and story timelines to further the readers understanding. If you like Stephen King's work, and can handle the gore, The Stand is worth a read.


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