Who’s at the door?
I have never studied An Inspector Calls so I thought that reading this quick text graphic novel would give me a good introduction to the full text. On first glance I like the style of this series. As well as the story, you get a biography of the author at the end and a piece on page creation that gives you great insight into how a graphic novel is produced. There’s also a small piece of comparison between this quick text edition and the original text edition by the same publisher. At the beginning of the book you have the character list as you would in the normal play script but with the addition of sketches. The colouring of the illustrations is very earthy, browns, reds, purples, greens. While I like the panels through out, some of the faces seem a little obscured by the thick shading and dark colours.
You can sense family tension right from the beginning of the book. Arthur Birling is very power crazed and you can see that he thinks he’s very important. When the inspector calls there is an obvious power struggle between the two. They battle it out, and when Goole says he’s not there just for him there is a very well placed “silent” panel that portrays the scene with great accuracy.
Although there are differences between the characters visually I found it difficult to keep track, I’m not sure whether that’s because I’m out of practice reading graphic novels or the dark illustrations.
You get to see the relationship between Shelia and Gerald strain when talking about the dead girl, the interaction between them works well on the page, with an especially good image of Shelia’s face looking at him with contempt.
You can see where the story is leading and it gets a little frustrating that no one will say it out loud. You see the vague un-policeman like behaviour but not knowing what is coming next I didn’t have a clue what I was seeing. There’s clearly an ulterior motive, but what?
It’s interesting to see how the older generation manage to pass the buck on their responsibility, but the younger actually take it to heart and seem ashamed. Both Mr and Mrs Birling seem determined to blame their son. Once they’ve realised the inspector is a fake it “makes all the difference”, but how? They are still guilty of their behaviour and they see how their actions could have caused such an event.
All along we’ve been finding out that the future is what we make it, our lives are so entwined that evrey action has consequences. No matter how small, you can never know what it might lead to.
The ending left me annoyed. Had the “inspector” found out about Eva’s tale and been party to her death? Had he put it all together from different girls and killed one of them himself to bring down the family? Have I just watched too much CSI?
Personally, while I love the story of An Inspector Calls I think I would have benefited from reading the original text over the quick text. As an aide to classroom learning though I think this would be a great tool. Even reading online summaries I got the same impression of the story as that of this adaptation. There weren’t bits of the text that were not clear, although I did have issues with the illustrations I’m more than comfortable putting that down to my lack of concentration. As an introduction before studying the text or used to help struggling students I can see it being very useful.