by Neil Gaiman
Helena lives with a circus. When her mother suddenly becomes hospitalized, the circus halts in a grimy tenement building and the performers anxiously wait to get on the road again. Worried about her mother\’s condition, Helena escapes into the world created by her drawings, where she meets some strange characters who remind her of people she knows in real life…. At first she\’s just wandering around there, but then she realizes that she\’s trapped, the dream-world is getting destroyed, and she has to find a hidden Charm to restore things to order. To make matters worse, a girl who looks like her has taken her place in the real world where she\’s causing all kinds of trouble, and her mother\’s well-being is somehow tied into this as well… The story is really a wonderful mix of emotions and dream imagery, echoing the real world but also very much influenced by it.
Mirrormask is one of my favorite fantasy films, so when I saw this graphic novel version at the library, I thought I was in for a treat. I had kind of a mixed reaction to it, though. I really liked the text by Neil Gaiman. The words flowed just right, and in fact made some things clear to me that didn\’t come across well in the film. The imagery was something else, though. It\’s a mixture of drawings by Dave McKean and stills from the film. The film images were usually dark, though, and often blurry or unclear. They didn\’t at all communicate the quirkiness and rich imagination that made the film so wonderful. I would have preferred all the visuals in this book to be illustrations, and more of them. It felt like it was a heavily illustrated book, not a true graphic novel. So overall, I felt like the book kept reminding me how much I like the film, but didn\’t stand well on its own.
Rating: 2/5 …….. 80 pages, 2005