Comic Reviews 

Review – J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit

Review - J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit

Review – J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit

Adapted by Charles Dixon & Sean Deming

Illustrated by David Wenzel

Published by Eclipse Books in 1990

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit tells the tale of a simple and happily settled hobbit of the Shire, Bilbo Baggins. Who upon greeting Gandalf the Grey wizard as he passes by, finds himself tied into a knot of unexpected dwarves on a quest to reclaim their kingdom. Upon his adventure he encounters all manner of beasts and battles including a hungry trio of trolls, a malignity of mountain goblins, a cluster of web crawling giant spiders, a man bear pig (kind of) and the sleeping Lonely Mountain dragon Smaug which will be the true test for this humble and homesick Hobbit’s quest, there and back again. 

Review - J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit

You’re no fool of a took dear reader, you know the story of Middle Earth (if you don’t get the reference, Gandalf despises you). I am happy to review that this telling of the tale is a faithful summary of the original book (to my Tolkien geek of a father and I’s knowledge). The writer goes all out to ensure that each line of dialogue and narration is presented as intended. Of course, this isn’t the original book so much of the descriptive text has been replaced by beautifully detailed panels of art, most of which could be framed for décor around the house. 

Review - J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit

The art in this novel is, for my age at least, fantastically nostalgic and is the main selling point for me. The faces of each character remind me of Santa Claus on Christmas cards or the Coca Cola adverts, that bright and rosy cheeked look of joy and wonder that puts you in a festive spirit. That being said, there is definitely something that will traumatize your children in just the right way, they’ve got a great choice of what will haunt them for a lifetime!

Review - J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit

One really great design choice is Gollum. This depiction has a resemblance to Max Schreck’s Nosferatu with prominent fangs and an infatuated glare for his prey as well as Jeff Goldblum in The Fly with a deformed and ghastly stature. It may be my favourite interpretation of him.

The use of colour schemes is in full effect in this novel as the backgrounds change depending on what setting the group are in; Starting out in a welcoming and warm spread of bright greens, blues and browns and fading into bleak and cold palettes of pale yellows, dark blues and enclosing greys, all inflamed by the rage filled red of Smaug the dragon upon his reveal.

Review – J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit continues below

Review - J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit

Overall, I feel this is a wonderful adaption of The Hobbit and I’m surprised I had never heard of it before this year. With it being utterly faithful to the original book in story and visually thrilling and inspired in its artwork, I believe this is a must have for anyone interested in the world of Tolkien. Whether you are a die-hard super fan adding to your collection or you enjoyed the films and would like to read a quick and faithful novelisation or as a gateway into Middle Earth for all ages.

 It would be a perfect graphic novel for you to share with your young Hobbits not only for the fantastic story that they can then experience and explore as the grow up, just as we did (Y’know The Lord of The Rings trilogy is 20 years old now? I was 3 when it was released!), but as an introduction into the world of comic books too.

Review – J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit continues below

Speaking of The Lord of The Rings trilogy, I last watched it over the Christmas period. There is a unanimous opinion as of late that it is indeed a Christmas story, there are articles that explain why that I highly recommend reading. I didn’t bother to watch The Hobbit trilogy though. It for me was a cinematic adventure with my own fellowship in school, but I understood that it was unfaithful in several ways and ultimately takes some of the thrill out of the story for me; go away Legolas and stop defying gravity with your perfect Bloomin’ face! 

My point is that this graphic novel is an ideal substitute for The Hobbit trilogy and its liberties by remaining faithful and accurate to the original story and an ideal substitute for The Hobbit book for its length and lack of illustration by being dwarven in size but heavily detailed and deeply engaging in its art.

Let me know if you have read this graphic novel, your thoughts on The Hobbit or discuss who the fifth army is in the Battle of Five Armies because I sure had to think about it and I’m still not sure!

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Benjamin Milne

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I don't know what I'm doing but I'm doing it with naps inbetween.

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