To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Pratchett's Discworld series, HarperCollins has published this hard bound compendium of the first two Discworld novels, "The Color of Magic" and "The Light Fantastic," in their 1991 renditions as graphic novels. Pratchett's writing skills have grown far beyond these early pastiches and satires, but there are real pleasures and genuine belly laughs in these two early books.
The Discworld rides on the backs of four giant elephants, who in turn stand on the back of planet-sized Great a'Tuin, the Star Turtle. "Hertzsprung-Russell Diagrams" are used to classify stars by colors, size and age. The Great a'Tuin is the only turtle to ever appear in a Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram. Trust me, if you are an astronomy student, it's a real groaner. But the great part about these stories is that there are puns, jokes and gags enough for everyone and every taste. The home of the quarrelsome, meddlesome gods of the Discworld, for example, is called Dunmanifestin... Ouch.
The drawings add interest. While the characters don't much resemble the pictures in my head, let alone the actors in Sky One's recent movie based on these novels, they aren't bad. Only the beardless Cohen the Barbarian seriously disappoints. Some cherished scenes have been clipped out; it's probably unavoidable, but I did miss Bravrd and Weasel, pastiches of Leiber's Fafhrd and Mouser, the bureaucratic evil of Ymper Trymon, and the very brief flight on TWA. But there's plenty of Pratchett humor left.
The drawings have a distinct charm and consistency. They add to the story, without distorting it. Those old paperback graphic novels, long out of print, are very hard to find; if you want a complete set of Pratchett, this volume is essential.
The madcap punning - persons robbing music shops must be "luters" - and throwaway lines - "We've got a wizard and we're not afraid to use him" - are there, and the drawings make them more fun still. These first two novels didn't have much of a plot but they definitely had their moments. This graphic novel gives you a chance to enjoy those moments again. And those new to Pratchett may find the graphic novels more accessible. Strongly recommended.