There’s your joke, Lankyguy!
I thought I’d wrap up my discussion on novelizations today, but first I wanted to thank you all for all the great comments you’ve left over the last couple of days. It’s made for some great reading, and I really appreciate your participation. Part of the fun of doing this is interaction with the readers, and I’m glad you took to this topic as well as you did. And to think it started simply because I wasn’t really in the mood to write about comics this week!
Anyway, let me respond to a few more of your comments, if I may:
- Alan notes that he liked the novelization of the first Tim Burton Batman movie more than the film itself, which, yeah, I get that. I read the book, though I remember nothing about it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if some of the elements Burton…glossed over got better coverage in prose.
- Nimbus brings up the prose adaptations of various comic book events over the years, such as the “Death of Superman” story adapted into novel form by Roger Stern. I’ve talked about these in the past, to some minor extent (I think most recently about the Crisis on Infinite Earths novel which…well, uh….). Whenever I read one of these, I always think about them in terms of “how would someone who’s never read a comic book react to this?” Granted, that’s hard to do, since I’ve been reading comics about as long as I’ve been able to read, but I can’t help but think how someone coming into this cold would react. I realize the vast majority of readers would be the previously converted, but there had to be some newbies in the audience.
Louise Simonson wrote a prose version for kids of the Doomsday saga as well:
I own this, but never got around to reading it. Maybe someday….
- Just as an aside, and in concurrence with Kevin‘s comment and Alan’s agreement…those Burton Bat-films haven’t really aged well, have they? They sure were the bee’s-freakin’-knees at the time.
- Doctor Polite Scott speaks of the Star Trek Photonovels, which I saw frequently as a young Mikester, though, despite my wholehearted, full-on Trekiness, I never owned.
I did have, as Alan and others mentioned, one the books adapting some of the Star Trek episodes. Well, not the Blish ones, which were the live-action shows, but the Alan Dean Foster ones, adapting the cartoons. I owned Log One, which contained an adaptation of “Yesteryear” — totally the best animated episode, and don’t you even argue with me about it.
- Aaron notes his ownership of the Max Allan Collins Dick Tracy novelization, which, if I recall correctly, originally did not include the villain’s “big reveal” in an effort to avoid spoiling the surprise of the film. I don’t remember if it was added into later printings or not. If there were later printings.
- Michael gives his appreciation of those early Han Solo/Lando solo novels, and notes that they sorta got overlooked in the “Expanded Universe” hoohar that has since overrun the Star Wars license. I do want to note that those earlier books weren’t necessarily invalidated: in one of the Expanded Universe novels that focused on Han Solo’s early life, events from the Daley novels are specifically referenced.
As I said yesterday, I didn’t even read those Daley books, and yet, when I came across those events in Rebel Dawn, I still realized they were from Daley’s stories. That’s how much of a sad nerd I am.
- Edward thinks back fondly upon the photo inserts novelizations used to have. I remember the novelization for Halloween II had pictures in it. That was a fun thing for sixth grade Mikester to have.
- David Z., Harvey Jerkwater, Fnord, and no less a personage than pal Tom the Dog invoke the dread spectre of Walt Disney’s Condorman…a novelization I never owned, but a film I did see during its original theatrical run. Couldn’t tell you a thing about it, but I did see it. I can even tell you with whom I went to see it (my friend Stephan and his family), but couldn’t describe a single frame of action.
I do have the comic book version at the store, though. Maybe that’ll refresh my memory.
- Rob talks about the Empire Strikes Back book, which I was going to bring up yesterday just to note that it was written by Donald Glut. I remember when this came out in 1980 or thereabouts, I recognized Don Glut’s name from some of the comics I’d read, and thinking, “whoa, a comic book writer…wrote a real book? No way!” My opinions of comic book writers are slightly higher now. Well, for the most part.
- BRD and Robert remind me that I need to clarify what I meant when I was talking yesterday about a “younger reader” version of the Alien novel. I didn’t specifically mean a totally rewritten version for, you know, grade schoolers or anything. I just meant that I remember a version that trimmed or altered the dirty words from the regular novel. I don’t know why that stuck in my head, but I swear I saw something along those lines. Maybe I’m crazy. CrrrrrrrAAAAAAAzy…!
But a kiddie version of Alien…hmmm, what would that be like? I wonder….
“BOO!” shouted the Alien, and Ripley cried out in surprise.
“That wasn’t a very nice thing to do!” Ripley scolded, shaking her finger at the Alien. “You really scared me!”
“Gosh,” said the Alien. “I was just trying to have a little fun. I didn’t mean to really frighten you!” The Alien looked sad.
Suddenly, the rest of the Nostromo gang rushed down the hall. “Hey, I heard you shout! Is everything okay?” Dallas asked.
“Sure, everything is fine,” Ripley answered. “The Alien just tried to put a scare into me, is all.”
“Now, Alien,” said Lambert, shaking her head. “What have we told you before about making friends? Friends shouldn’t scare each other!”
“I’m sorry,” said the Alien. “I know now what I did wasn’t very nice.”
“That’s okay,” said Ripley. “I accept your apology. Just to show there’s no hard feelings…how would you like to come to our party? It’s Jones the Cat’s birthday today, and we’re having cake and ice cream!”
“Really? I love cake and ice cream!” the Alien said.
“Then let’s go!” shouted the Nostromo gang. “This is the best space-trip ever,” added Brett happily.
Okay, I gotta stop.
- Matter-Eater Lad mentions the Star Trek: The Motion Picture adaptation, and its excessive use of italics and exclamation points. I also want to note its use of an introduction to the novel allegedly by James Kirk himself, plus extensive footnoting explaining cultural and technological details, and, well, this:
“…Since Kirk’s and Spock’s friendship was unusually close, this has led to some speculation over whether they had actually indeed become lovers. At our request, Admiral Kirk supplied the following comment on this subject:
‘I was never aware of this lovers rumor, although I have been told that Spock encountered it several times. Apparently he always dismissed it with his characteristic arching of his right eyebrow which usually connoted some combination of surprise, disbelief, and/or annoyance. As for myself, although I have no moral or other objections to physical love in any of its many Earthly, alien, and mixed forms, I have always found my best gratification in that creature woman. Also, I would dislike being thought of as so foolish that I would select a love partner who came into sexual heat only once every seven years.'”
In-story references to slash fiction. No, really, it’s on page 22 of the original Pocket Books edition of the paperback. Is this a great hobby or what?
- Monty says a little about “novelizations of movies based on novels,” which I was actually talking with Employee Aaron about on Thursday. Specifically, I wondered if there was a novel based on the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie based on the comic book series. And lo, there is. Probably one for From Hell, too. And get ready for the novelization for the Watchmen movie. “‘RRAAAARRL’ snarled Rorschach as he jumped through the window.”
- And finally, suedenim brings up the Moonraker adaptation, which I’m pretty sure I owned as well. I went through a pretty serious James Bond book phase, so I either owned it or checked it out from the library. I even owned the soundtrack. Had a “movie soundtrack” phase, too, but that’s a subject for another post.
By the way, in Googling up some info for this post, I discovered that there is an Adventures in Babysitting novelization. No. Freakin’. Way. How did I not know about this, and how do I not own it? Seriously. (EDIT: I probably should have also noted that the linked article is part one of a three part series on movie novelizations by Allan Mott…if you want to Read More About It, here are parts two and three.)
Again, thanks to all you folks for putting up with my little journey into nostalgia, here, and thank you for all your wonderful comments and contributions.