Friday, April 8, 2011

Gatsby 001

So I finished reading Gatsby last night.

An offer has come up to pitch a graphic novel adaptation. Gatsby is still under control, so rights would have to be obtained. The publisher would have to like our pitch. Contracts arranged. Then we would have to do it.

I haven't read the book since high school, so I down loaded a copy to my wife's nook e-reader yesterday and read through it. Its a short novel, 114 pages. Hard to get it published today at that length. Seems like everything has to be 300 pages anymore.

The following are some of the thoughts about adapting it I just sent to the writer. Its a start.


For purposes of adaptation it does have the virtue of being short. I should think that the first step in adapting it would be to go through it and determine what to eliminate, or compress and what to use. And then, what should be described in narrative captions, and what should be illustrated.

Nick's visual descriptions will have to go from the narrative, of course. How Gatsby looks in his blue suit on the white steps; how radiant and endearing his smile.... I have to capture these in the art, and not compete with verbal images. On the other hand, some passages seemed to go by in a blur (perhaps it was simply late, and my attention wavered) but Myrtle appearing from the garage and getting run over seemed a bit vague. That may have to be elaborated a bit (and I'll need to re-read that.) On the other hand, these kind of transitions might best be handled by lifting Fiztgerald's passages almost verbatim as narrative captions and allow the dream-like passages to stand.

How to portray Gatsby's energetic, nervous motion, the foot tapping? This might be a little of both, verbal and visual. And of course the prudent use of silent panels... Gatsby looking at the stars from his porch, Nick entering the room where he first sees Daisy and Jordan lounging on the divan in white... this is where we can capture much of the mood. This is a book with ample room for silence.

In B&W, I've been drawing a lot using low cast light, shadows to one side of the body, light on the other, and this has translated to the colored marker drawings I've been doing. I like this for Gatsby, it suggests twilight and crisp early mornings and that seems appropriate for the era, this late partying crowd and the themes of end of the day and new starts.

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