OK, I'll be honest right up front. When this first went into publication in comic form a few years ago, I wasn't all that excited about it. Adapting King's work visually always seems to be a problem. I hold up the previous TV miniseries as proof of that. It was OK, but some of the acting just left me thinking....bleh. Some of the cover art I had seen for the individual comics in this series didn't do anything to make me change my mind either. Over the years, I kept reading positive reviews of this series, but just wasn't willing to bite the apple.
I found a used copy of this for a good price on Amazon, and finally decided to give it a try. First of all, this is a BIG book and it's HEAVY. The size of the compendium is a little bigger than the comics, so that in itself is a plus. You also get two books; one is the graphic novelization of The Stand, and the other is The Companion to The Stand. Let's look at them individually.
I've read The Stand several times over the years, so I am quite familiar with the story. This graphic novelization of it is actually SUPERB!!!! I was totally amazed at how closely it follows the text. The text really feels like you're reading Classic King. It is not verbatim to the original text, but it follows the mood and spirit of the original. I have to be honest that one of my big misgivings about this was the artwork. Of course, that was artwork that I had not actually ever seen. I based my prejudice on the cover art that I had seen over the years. Oh wait.....I think I remember an old phrase, "Don't judge a book by its cover." That has never been more true than it is for this series. The artwork that is INSIDE this compendium is truly breathtaking. Some scenes are so bright and colorful, and yet some other more sinister ones are dark and threatening. The characterizations are spot-on to what I pictured in my mind when reading the novel. There was not one depiction that I felt was incorrect. The artwork really helps me relate to the scenes and what the characters are feeling, just as King's text does in the novel. I really felt as if I had read the novel again after completing this graphic novelization. If you have misgivings as I did, put them aside and invest in this lovely work of art. You will NOT be disappointed.
THE STAND: COMPANION
OK, now I am a movie geek who LOVES the making-of materials for movies. If you could care less about how this was made, then don't even bother getting this separate volume out of the case. If you love learning how things are made, you are going to LOOOOOOOOVE this Companion. This is not a very simple discussion of how The Stand came to be, but rather an in-depth exploration of every part of how this massive project came to fruition. There are rough sketches, interviews, and character profiles. One of the things I liked most were the maps that accompanied the journeys of some characters like Trashcan Man, or Stu Redman. I'm a visual learner, so these maps really help me get a grasp on how the story moves across the country. Each map is similar to those you might see in a history book where points of interest along the way are accompanied with text explaining what happened in each place on the map. The wealth of information provided in this companion is truly astounding. It alone provides HOURS of enjoyment to any serious appreciator of this important piece of American Fiction.
First of all, I ask forgiveness for the prejudices I had before actually seeing this compendium. In my opinion, this is one of King's finest works of fiction EVER!! This graphic novelization allowed me to experience this wonderful story from a new point of view. The graphic visualizations and the text work together to create a totally new way of experiencing this tale in a whole new manner. If you love the original novel as much as I do, trust me on this.....You do NOT want to pass up the experience of seeing The Stand play out before you in this gorgeous piece of art. I am so glad I took the chance on this, and this is a volume that is now in a prominent position in my Stephen King collection.