The Hobbit: An Illustrated Edition by J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Dixon and David Wenzel (book review)

You don’t step on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind and above all else, you don’t mess with the classics. Thankfully, David Wenzel and Charles Dixon have resisted the urge to give their graphic novel translation a modern look to reflect the super-duper high definition look that will grace our screens this Christmas.

That’s not to say that nothing is new, in order to give it a point of difference from earlier editions, his illustrated adaptation has added six pages of new artwork to coincide with the release of Peter Jackson’s film ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’.

Wenzel’s adaptation was first published back in 1990 and although time has aged the artwork and lettering slightly, it still has that warm feel we expect from ‘The Hobbit’. It certainly doesn’t affect the drama of the original’s key scenes. Bilbo and Gollum exchanging riddles is beautifully stretched across several pages with panels varying to suit the moment rather than worrying about consistency. Walking into Smaug’s lair is like venturing into hell itself and the tension is conveyed perfectly through the artwork.

I could go into the story but to be honest reviewing this would be like offering a critique of the Bible. It’s a classic, you’ll be hard-pushed to find anyone who won’t enjoy it. Generally I’m not a massive fan of unnecessary comic adaptations but perhaps the graphic format may actually convince anyone out there who hasn’t read it to give it a go.

The six new pages of artwork that are screamed about on the cover probably aren’t a good enough reason to buy this edition, especially if you already have a copy. However, if you don’t already have one, it’s an added bonus on top of a timeless classic.

It’s a perfect way to introduce younger readers to the adventure that is Tolkien before Jackson blings it up completely.

  Aidan Fortune

November 2012


(pub: Del Rey/Ballantine Books. 137 page graphic novel softcover. Price: $20.00 (US). ISBN: 978-0-345-44560-5)

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Once called a "fountain of useless pop culture knowledge", Aidan is an unashamed geek, grateful that he is allowed share his opinions on a global scale. A journalist by trade, Aidan is a massive fan of comics and recently set up a comics group in Brighton in order to engage more with like-minded people. His home is subject to a constant battle of vintage paraphernalia and science fiction & fantasy toys.

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