Whatever the immediate faults with Steven Philip Jones’s adaptation of The People That Time Forgot, I think I love him for keeping the exception sexism and elitism intact. Only a few pages in–into this kids’ comic–he’s got the narrator rambling on about how he’s enthralled with his little savage beauty. It’s totally unexpected (as is Ajor, the little savage beauty, being black–she’s white on the cover).
It’s a mediocre, amateurish attempt overall, as with Campfire’s Land That Time Forgot attempt, but People is far superior. Jones doesn’t stick rigidly to Burroughs’s original text, freeing him up to… well, it follows the story faithfully, but at least the stupid mistakes are Jones’s and not some adaptation difficulties. It makes People feel, at the very least, like a fuller attempt at an adaptation to a new medium. Jones changes things up to make it better suited for the comic book medium.
Does he fail?
He does make the dialogue dumber than Burroughs’s, partially because he’s creating it (Burroughs wrote People That Time Forgot mostly as first person narration), but also because he’s trying to make it accessible. But he also tries to keep the Burroughs’s flavor. The result is mixed, but more positive than not.
K.L. Jones’s artwork here is still mediocre. I’m not sure he really comes up with anything to wow me, but his panel layouts on the page are, again, occasionally very successful.
The comic almost works, which is fine. It definitely doesn’t fail.
Writer, Steven Philip Jones; artist, K.L. Jones; colorist, Vikash Gurung; letterer, Bhavnath Chaudhary; editors, Mark Jones and Andrew Dodd; publisher, Campfire.
I’d never heard of Campfire before The Land That Time Forgot and I doubt I’ll hear much about them after I read the sequel. They’re an Indian company who publishes for kids. Land has a nice place for you to put your name in the front cover and the back has an advertisement for other Campfire comics, all adaptations of public domain literature.
As an adaptation, Land is pretty faithful. There are some strange developments–there’s some seriously implied premarital sex in here, which wasn’t in the novel–and there’s some definite lifting from the movie adaptation. I presume they figure no one will notice.
It’s difficult to gauge Scott Alexander Young’s writing abilities, as most of the comic is a directly taken from the novel, whether narrative exposition or dialogue. The original dialogue, however, is pretty lame. The worst kind of declarative statements. I’m not even getting into the frequent typos.
The art’s similarly amateurish. K.L. Jones has a reasonable understanding of composition (some of the page layouts are nice), but his figures are problematic. They lack any dynamism and so the whole comic is static. It looks like an illustrated children’s book, by an unaccomplished illustrator.
Unfortunately, Young doesn’t come up with anything to improve on the novel’s problems (it’s front-loaded, then all summary in the second half). In fact, he relies on journal entries to hurry things along.
It’s not disappointing because I had zero hopes. It’s just too bad no one serious adapts the novel.
Writer, Scott Alexander Young; artist, K.L. Jones; colorist, Vikash Gurung; letterer, Vishal Sharma; editors, Eman Chowdhary and Andrew Dodd; publisher, Campfire.