Morning mortals! Today I’m reviewing another graphic novel, I think the last time I did this was back when I reviewed Nimona, my first foray into all things illustrated. Since then I’ve been keeping my eyes open for fun/interesting graphic novels and comics. In the Pines definitely fits that particular bill (the latter, I’m not sure I would call it fun).
A collection of murder ballads — some of which have been covered by modern masters like Nick Cave, Steve Earle, and Gillian Welch — that have been adapted into ruthless graphic narratives.
This is a collection of so-called murder ballads. That description alone called to the morbid human in me, I like something a little twisted, a little dark and you can’t get much weirder (without wandering completely into the realms of fantasy) than these murder ballads. These are stories in which people die and then generally there’s some kind of otherworldly element such as a haunting or similar. If you like a ghost story you’re pretty much guaranteed to like these stories.
I thought the illustrations were – for want of a better word – lovely. They definitely fit with the tone of the stories and they are certainly interesting to look at. This was the perfect medium in which to tell these stories.
The thing that stopped me from liking these stories as much as I otherwise might have was the lack of women. I think out of all the stories there’s one (maybe two?) in which a woman is the strong character. More often than not they are simply either murdered or cheating on their husbands with their best friends. I think this is representative of the source material as opposed to this particular author/illustrator but there were a good number of stories that could have been edited/adapted to reflect a more balanced world. Maybe that’s straying too much from the core ideas of the book and these stories, I’m not sure, but personally that was what hindered my enjoyment.
My rating: 3/5 stars
I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What say you? Where do you stand on the ‘straying from source material’ question? Let me know in the comments below.