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From Hell: Examining the transition from page to screen

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Abstract:

Alan Moore and the Hughes brothers shared a common goal to depict nineteenth-century English slum life in a credible manner in their versions of From Hell. The documentary style created by Moore and Eddie Campbell in their graphic novel is not replicated in the film with correspondent solutions specific to cinema. Instead, the Hughes brothers veered away from the source text thematically and aesthetically, creating something quite different. These choices, although inventive, ultimately alienated fans and were a factor in the film's moderate critical reception. Pascal Lefevre posits in his essay 'Incompatible Visual Ontologies?' that the unique conflicts facing a film-making team that choose to adapt a comic book can be broken down into four main divisions: 'first, to what extent the screenwriter has to rewrite the story, second, how to go from page layout to a single, unchangeable screen frame, third, how to translate the static drawings into moving and photographic images, and fourth, how to give the "silent world" an audible sound?'. These distinctions will frame my theoretical, thematic and aesthetic analysis of Alan Moore's graphic novel From Hell to the resultant film of the same name.

Keywords: ADAPTATION; ALAN MOORE; COMPARISON; RE-IMAGINING; REINTERPRETATION; TRANSFORMATION; VISUAL LANGUAGES

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/stic.2.1.207_1

Publication date: July 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Studies in Comics aims to describe the nature of comics, to identify the medium as a distinct art form, and to address the medium's formal properties. The emerging field of comics studies is a model for interdisciplinary research and in this spirit this journal welcomes all approaches. This journal is international in scope and provides an inclusive space in which researchers from all backgrounds can present new thinking on comics to a global audience. The journal will promote the close analysis of the comics page/text using a variety of methodologies. Its specific goal, however, is to expand the relationship between comics and theory and to articulate a "theory of comics". The journal also includes reviews of new comics, criticism, and exhibitions, and a dedicated online space for cutting-edge and emergent creative work. 
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