Tag Archives: The Supernaturalist

The Supernaturalist: The Graphic Novel (2012) – Colfer/Donkin/Rigano/Lamanna

From the same people who teamed up to bring us the graphic novel adaptations of the Eoin Colfer’s first two Artemis Fowl books comes the graphic novel adaptation of Colfer’s The Supernaturalist. In my review of the original book, I complained about how everything moved so fast that I had problems picturing things in my head, even when I slowed down and re-read passages for clarification. I had hoped that the graphic novel would clear up some of those things and help me to see certain aspects of the book more clearly. In a way, it did, but I didn’t agree with the way everything was portrayed.

For starters, why do the lightning rods look like guns? A “rod” is a straight, stick-shaped piece of wood/metal/etc…guns don’t look like that. I also didn’t care for the way the Parasites were drawn; I had imagined little blue beetle-like creatures, similar to R.A.L.P.H. from Spy Kids 2. And, lastly, Cosmo looks too effeminate for me…at least, he does while he still has hair. When the hair is gone, he looks better, but the way he is shown on the cover (he’s the one in the front) just looks bad. I suppose I can’t complain, though; you know what they say – beggars can’t be choosers. Still…I wish things like those had been closer to how I initially envisioned them.

The artwork is sharp and the colors are nice, though the limited color palette used (a sort of grungy, dark one) would not have been my initial choice. It works, though, and it does a great job of capturing the tone of the book. Satellite City is not a nice place to live, and this choice of color palette emphasizes that point pretty clearly.

Like the Artemis Fowl graphic novels, The Supernaturalist is very condensed and occasionally choppy and understandably so. It’s not like they can make the graphic novel the same length as the book, and I had just finished re-reading the book anyway, so it didn’t really bother me. What did bother me, however, is how the artwork was occasionally drawn across both the left and right pages – something that would have been fine if they did a better job of indicating when the story continued across the page gap. There were too many times when I would read left to right, top to bottom on the left page, confused, only to glance at the top of the right page and discover that the artwork from the left had continued onto the right in one big panel. I got quite irritated.

Aside from those one or two little quarrels, The Supernaturalist: The Graphic Novel makes for a nice companion to the original book; as is the case with the Artemis Fowl graphic novels, it is better to read one (the book) or both, but never the graphic novel alone – you miss out on too much when you choose not to read the book, just as you would with watching a movie adaptation of a book. Overall, the Artemis Fowl graphic novels look better and flow better, though…in my opinion, of course. Read them all and decide for yourself!

Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)


P.S. – In case you missed it above, read my review of the original book that this graphic novel is based on here!


The Supernaturalist (2004) – Eoin Colfer

Written by the author of the acclaimed Artemis Fowl series, The Supernaturalist takes place a thousand years from now in a place called Satellite City, where much of the city is controlled by a satellite that rests high in the atmosphere, above the thick layer of smog and the thinning ozone layer…so yes, Eoin Colfer’s usual themes of environmentalism are just as present here as in Artemis Fowl. The main character is an orphan named Cosmo Hill, and he lives at the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys, where he and the other boys are used as lab rats for testing dangerous hygiene products and various chemicals. Eventually, he is introduced to a team of people that calls themselves The Supernaturalists. They spend their time hunting and destroying creatures called Parasites that feed on the life force of dying people.

The Supernaturalist features the same wit, humor, and creativity found in Eoin Colfer’s other books, and, like Artemis Fowl, the technology is advanced; we see windows that automatically tint to match the outside light, mechanical bridges that are used to travel across rooftops with ease, and rods that shoot projectiles containing electricity, goo, or cellophane. Colfer expertly sets up this world where everything is controlled by a corporation, where lawyers act as the law enforcers, and where these Parasite creatures are growing in number, making The Supernaturalists’ jobs even more difficult. These characters have dark, emotional pasts that we see develop throughout the book; Cosmo, who has never known his parents, wishes for a family that eventually comes to him by way of The Supernaturalists. Stefan, the group’s leader, lost his mother to the Parasites, making his fight against the Parasites a personal one, though he discovers that what he thinks to be truth is all a lie.

While the plot is fantastic and filled with twists and turns that will always keep you guessing, I took issue with the amount of information Colfer was expecting us to take in. Unlike in the Artemis Fowl series, where there are often moments for things to slow down and be better explained, The Supernaturalist comes across something new, gives a brief, hardly adequate explanation and then speeds on to the next moment. I often had difficulty in picturing objects or events in my head because I felt like I didn’t have a detailed enough explanation. Now, I’m not saying that I would have liked Colfer to go all Tolkien on us and spend five pages describing a tree (exaggeration; note: I really like Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings), but slowing down just enough to properly introduce new objects, ideas, or situations would have been helpful.

Aside from this small issue, The Supernaturalist is a thrill ride that manages to entertain and to teach on high levels. Satellite City almost parallels the world’s current state: concern for environmental welfare, a growing nuclear threat, and the implications of an ever-evolving technological society are all issues addressed at some point in the book. These lessons – or warnings, as they very well may be (they do feel rather Bradbury-esque at times) – don’t overshadow the story, though, which is begging for a sequel…a sequel that Colfer has reportedly already outlined. If you enjoy Colfer’s other works, The Supernaturalist will certainly be a treat for you; if this is your first Colfer book, then prepare for quite an enjoyable read.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)


P.S. – Read my review of the graphic novel adaptation of this book here!