Adapted by Charles Dixon and Sean Deming
Based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien
Art by David Wenzel
144 pages, color
Published by Del Rey

I think it’s safe to say that Lord of the Rings mania is currently in full force. With three amazingly successful movies courtesy Peter Jackson, J.R.R. Tolkien’s most famed work has found itself to a whole new audience now hungry for all-things Tolkien. With that in mind, could there possibly be a better time for them to pick up a copy of the graphic novel adaptation of The Hobbit courtesy Chuck Dixon, Sean Deming, and David Wenzel? Nope, this is definitely the right time.

For those new to the world of Lord of the Rings, written sometime before the acclaimed trilogy was Tolkien’s The Hobbit, the tale of young Bilbo Baggins and how Gandalf persuaded him to be a burglar to raid the dragon Smaug’s lair for a family of dwarves. Of course, before Bilbo can do that, he and the dwarves will have to journey across a great expanse of Middle-Earth itself, and that shall be anything but simple…

It may sound silly, but the greatest surprise to me upon reading this adaptation of The Hobbit was that Dixon and Deming were able to fit everything in. So many comic adaptations have shortened or glossed over major parts of the work they were turning into sequential art, but this was clearly a labor of love in getting every last part of the story there. Dixon and Deming wisely choose when to use narration and when to express the story in dialogue; with only 144 pages, one’s space is limited, and they found a nice balance.

The art in a comic adaptation is usually what will make or break the book, and Wenzel definitely makes it all work. There’s a nice soft look to The Hobbit, which is rather apt. The Hobbit is a much less grim book than Lord of the Rings, where the major goal is to retake a stolen legacy instead of saving the entire world. That’s not to say that Wenzel can’t draw menace, mind you. Gollum looks awfully creepy here as he skulks through mountain caves, and the dragon Smaug looks as massive and menacing as I’d always imagined. Maybe the trolls look a little goofy (although come to think of it, they were a little goofy in the books as well) and Bilbo seems a little more hapless compared to what the hobbits in the movie looked like, the final result still looks great.

Christmas may have come and gone, but it’s never too late to give people a copy of The Hobbit. Birthdays? Anniversaries? Just because you think they’ll like it? Whatever the circumstance, I don’t think any one who thrilled to the wonders of Lord of the Rings will be disappointed when they get a copy of The Hobbit. And don’t worry, it’s all right if you buy one for yourself. Rather understandable, really.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com

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