Saturday, December 8, 2007

Graphic Novels and Opera, Random Thoughts

Brunnhilde The Valkyrie by Arthur Rackham

There is a relation between comic books and opera. This is not discussed that much. I hear it in passing at many comic book shops. The superhero dresses in a cape and tights, so does the opera hero. Opera heros and villains are larger than life and exaggerated. Batman and Superman couldn't be more exaggerated in presentation. Batman's parents die after a night watching Faust. The opera is as full of dramatic flourishes as the comic book.

P. Craig Russell is the comic artist who is best known for translating operas into comic books. His best known translation is the Ring of the Nibelungen. It is very beautiful full color work. He has also translated Bluebeard, Salome, the Magic Flute, Parsifal, and many other operas into comic book form. The illustrations are very beautiful to look at. He has a series of books called the P. Craig Russell Library of Opera Adapatations which is a multivolume set.

Another recent graphic novel which draws heavily from the opera is V for Vendetta by Alan Moore. There are many parallels between this graphic novel and The Phantom of the Opera. The costume of the hero includes a Guy Fawkes mask, cape, and hat. The hero is also prone to dramatic presentation.

This is just a thought for the moment to discuss. I am trying to find academic references to these parallels but they are not there. It should be looked at more closely. Please comment on this.

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