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Author Topic: My Review of Gold Bug
Craig Childs
Member # 5382

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I am not usually a purchaser of comic books (I think I may have owned one Star Wars comic as a kid, but that was it!), and I admit to being a little baffled by Card's recent forays into that field. I understand the appeal of turning published novels into comics, like he did with RED PROPHET and WYRMS. As a reader, these comics provide an quick, shorthand method of reliving the excitement of the novel. As a writer, one might hope the comics would steer new readers onto the existing books.

But I'm not sure why a writer wants to produce original stories in comic form (ULTIMATE IRON MAN, GOLD BUG). The medium just seems so limiting that I can't imagine it feels much like writing at all. Especially not for an author like OSC, whose forte is digging into the thoughts and motivations of his characters to explore their cultures, beliefs, and moral ambiguities.

But, of course, I know this is just my bias coming out -- others have said the same thing about writing novels as opposed to theater, or writing movie screenplays rather than novels, or writing television scripts rather than screenplays. Obviously, there is a large market that embraces the graphic novel form. Several speculative authors including Card, J Michael Straczynski , Neil Gaimen, and Stephen King have turned their attention to comics - so clearly I am missing the boat!

Having said all that, I still enjoyed GOLD BUG. The story fleshed out a small corner of Ender's Universe that was only alluded to in the final chapters of Ender's Game. We are introduced to characters first settling one of the Buggers' worlds after the Formic War. During the course of the story, we learn more about Bugger technology and how they created genetic hybrid creatures to mine minerals out of the ground. OSC even gives us two scenes with Ender himself, which both serve to add some emotional depth to the story.

The artwork was adequate, but not as good as the panels in RED PROPHET. In several panels, particularly the dark cave scenes, it was difficult to tell exactly what was going on. The gold bug larvae looked too much like the recently cocooned adults. And the cannibalized adult carcasses looked like small brown rocks.

To sum it up, I had the same reaction to GOLD BUG that I had to ROBOTA a few years ago -- there was an entertaining story there, but it was given short thrift because it had to be tied so closely to the artwork, rather than the characters.

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Member # 5003

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I've thought of telling stories in the graphic novel mode before. For one thing, I really prefer writing dialogue over scene. I also think a graphic novel could be like a storyboard presentation such as is used during movie production.
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Jake Black
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Just to clarify, OSC wrote the story in prose form, and then I scripted it into comic form based on the as-yet-unpublished sort story, and then Jin Han did the art.
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Craig Childs
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Thanks, Jake. I didn't realize that.
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