The Wolf Gift: The Graphic Novel
Story by Anne Rice
Art and Adaptation by Ashley Marie Witter
Review by Mara Wood
I love monster stories that feature a beast with a heart of gold. Just look at Beauty and the Beast, Phantom of the Opera, How’s Moving Castle…All of these stories feature a man with a piece of him that is different from the norm. That’s part of the charm of these characters; how they deal with their lot in life, find fulfillment, and connect with their loved ones. Anne Rice’s The Wolf Gift: The Graphic Novel, adapted by Ashley Marie Witter, falls into this category of story.
Reuben Golding is charged with writing a newspaper article about a beautiful, old home in a dreary corner of the world. Marchent, the current owner, is looking to shed the painful ties to the estate. As he explores the rich history of the home, Reuben convinces himself to keep the home and maintain the history within its walls. Just as he does, the home is invaded by Marchent’s younger, unstable brothers. He owes his life to a beast that saved him in the nick of time. Wounded and unsure of what to do next, Reuben finds himself experiencing life in a completely different way.
You can probably guess what happens next. Yes, this is a werewolf story. No, it’s not about unrequited love or anything like that.
That is what is refreshing about the graphic novel adaptation of Anne Rice’s Wolf Gift. There’s no question about the creature Reuben becomes, no pining over his old life. As stated in the title, Reuben sees this transformation as a gift. This story is about how Reuben comes to terms with his new state of being. Sure, there’s a love story. However, it is not in the forefront. In fact, it almost seems like an afterthought, another way to emphasize Reuben’s irresistible beauty.
What stands out most about this adaptation is Witter’s artwork. Done in simple black-and-white, Witter’s work brings Rice’s world to life. The way Witter draws Reuben is incredibly seductive, illustrating just how impressive his physique and personality is. The panels are well laid out, and this novel is perfect for fans of Rice’s work.
One particular challenge with graphic novel adaptations is pacing. The pacing of a novel and the pacing of a graphic novel are rendered differently. Witter’s careful adaptation takes this into consideration. At no point was there confusion about the direction of the story. The transitions are smooth, the mythos fascinating, and the characters enthralling. Overall, this is one graphic novel that is hard to put down.
The Wolf Gift: The Graphic Novel is published by Yen Press, a division of Hachette. The graphic novel comes in 5.5” x 8.25” hardcover with a beautifully illustrated dust jacket.
It’s a solid buy, especially for those on your Christmas list. Got a friend who loves Anne Rice? Gift them this book. Or perhaps you enjoy the rugged masculinity of a man who can transform into a wolf. This may be your next favorite adaptation.
Hachette Book Group graciously provided a review copy of The Wolf Gift: The Graphic Novel.