Despite the incredible source material and spectacle of the movies, Dune doesn’t seem to have the right kind of media.
When Frank Herbert published Dune in 1965, science fiction was changed forever. While it drew on tropes and themes established in other science fiction works of the time, its unique inclusion of esoteric language and spirituality created a saga that the authors have attempted to replicate ever since. decades. Unfortunately, his intention seventh book in the series was never completed during his lifetime.
When he died, the rights to the series passed to his son, Brian Herbert. Despite using the notes left by his father, Brian extended Dune the novels are widely regarded as having reduced the quality of the series to children’s literature. The recent Dune graphic novel (by Brian Herbert, Kevin J Anderson, Raul Allen and Patricia Martin) and its derivative comics could have been excellent opportunities to give the series another literary avenue. Unfortunately, they suffered from the same issues as the extended novels, as well as a few unique issues.
Herbert’s novels used Shakespearean dialogue to bring the reader into its frame, but most of that frame comes from the characters’ immensely provocative inner monologues. Since computers are prohibited under Dune, humans have grappled with superior thought mechanisms to solve logic problems. The prose reflects this, and the written thoughts and feelings of the cast of Dune will make readers feel like omnipotent geniuses, even if they aren’t. In Brian Herbert’s books, however, almost all of the information is conveyed through dialogue.
Somehow, this problem has spread throughout the comics. Comics have the limitless potential to display thoughts, poems, and countless additional forms of text simultaneously in the present moment. Despite this, in the prequel comic Dune: Atréides House (by Brian Herbert, Kevin J Anderson, Dev Pramanik and Alex Guimareas), an adaptation of Brian Herbert’s book of the same name, the characters simply to say each other all. Nothing is show to the reader as in the original books; instead, everything is force-fed by dialogue bubbles, on display.
One of the things that makes the original Dune unique novel is its extensive annexes. Rather than just reading the book from start to finish, readers will find themselves going back to the spine of the book in order to have the same depth of knowledge as the characters. By the end of the story, they learned not only from the material intrigue, but also from the trials and stories that flesh out the galaxy into a living environment. Even Denis Villeneuve’s latest film has found a way to translate this sentiment, often returning to Paul as he studies movie books covering a wide range of subjects. The adaptation of the graphic novel, however, has none of that. The scenes take place in featureless backgrounds, no additional insight is given, and facial expressions are almost nonexistent.
Some might suggest that books won’t translate into comics without feeling uninspired. Dune, in particular, is seen as a very difficult story to adapt. That doesn’t mean, however, that a comedic version of the story can’t be both faithful and effective. The problem with the Dune comics, it seems, can be a problem with adapters. Brian Herbert is a novelist; so is Kevin J. Anderson. Without proper research, one skill does not necessarily translate into another, however talented practitioners may be in a medium.
The absurd and groundbreaking science fiction novel by Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse Five received a excellent adaptation of Boom Studios (by Bryan North and Albert Monteys). It would have been easy to just literally display what’s going on and rely on the dialogue from the book. Instead, its creators used an innovative and impressive variety of visual tools to convey the book’s motifs in a whole new way. If Herbert had received the same love and respect that Vonnegut had in the comics, there might be a Dune graphic novel that would transcend in the same way that his books did. While the odds seem slim that Dune will ever get a second chance in the comics, we have no fear. Fear is the mind killer.
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