The Home of the Creative Mind

Welcome to PooBahSpiel, the online voice and home of the creative mind of Mark Monlux, Illustrator Extraordinaire. Prepare yourself for an endless regaling of art directly from the hand of this stellar artist. And brace yourself against his mighty wind of pontification. Updates are kinda weekly and show daily sketches, current projects, and other really nifty stuff.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Comic Critic Reviews Watchmen, and The Return of Stickman #949

Whenever I think of movies adapted from books, I don’t think of Gone with the Wind, instead I think of The Egyptian. I can’t remember when I first saw The Egyptian but I know it had to be on television, a couple of decades after it’s theater release in 1954. Being a kid I had no knowledge, and didn’t care, that the movie was adapted from a novel. I loved the film because it a lot of cool stuff in it. There were pharos, lions, mummies, intrigue, and a one-eyed liar you just had to love. And even on the tiny television screen you could see that the film was epic in scope. I loved that too. When I was slightly older I was reading the credits and saw that it was based on a novel. That roused my curiosity and I began to investigate.

Originally a novel by Miki Waltari, The Egyptian was published in 1945, in Finland. Naomi Walford translated it into English in 1949. It then went to top the best seller list in the Unites States. Five years later it was adapted to a film by Philip Dunne and Casey Robinson. I use to wonder about how the Finn, Miki Waltari, felt about all this adaptation. Then I discovered that Waltari’s historical novel was itself based an Ancient Egyptian text The Story of Sinuhe, and I guessed he was okay with adaptation.

I didn’t actually lay my hands on a copy of the book until the late 80s. I don’t know if I found it in my mother’s library or if I picked it up in a used bookstore someplace. Regardless, my interest in the movie had me very excited to read the book. I expected there to be differences, and there were. The book gave me another cast of characters to add to those already in my mind. I could see where the writers had to trim to take into consideration the time and budget limitations of putting a story on film. But, in the end, they remained faithful to the intent of the story and kept its integrity.

Writing and drawing my short little cartoon reviews can be a real challenge. This time around I wanted to make the point that regardless of the wealth of great material that is often left out when a film adaptation is made, as long as the integrity of the story remain, you will have a good movie. And if the producers are capable of bringing to life just a portion of the spectacle the creator’s had in mind, all the better. In the case of Watchmen I hope a lot of young viewers out there will have their interest stirred up. I’d love to imagine their road of discovery to source of the story being just as much fun as mine was.

Just like Stickman, I too love pie.

The Comic Critic and The Return of Stickman is a product of Monlux Illustration, “Home of the Creative Mind!”™