Mattotti and his longtime collaborator Kramsky return to the comix world with an interpretation of Robert Louis Stevenson's tale of gothic horror. While the story is set in Victorian England, Mattotti's artwork evokes the masterful expressionism of Berlin of the 1930s and such influences as Max Beckman, George Grosz and Giorgio de Chirico. Dr. Jekyll's obsession with the duality of the human personality-the good and evil that reside within-leads him to concoct the potion that brings out his purely evil side. Depicting this transformation, Mattotti's art becomes even more expressive, reminiscent of the later paintings of Francis Bacon. Jekyll's assertion that with his potion "Life would be relieved of all that is horrible" proves wrong. Indeed, he has distilled life's horrors in the person of the brutal Mr. Hyde, who haunts the nightclubs, parties, darkened streets and brothels of London, a perfect vehicle for Mattotti's masterful command of color, composition and mood. An accomplished colorist, Mattotti saturates the book's pages with a rich palette, and each panel is beautiful and expressive. Kramsky's adept condensation of Stevenson's book appropriates snatches of the original text verbatim, maintaining the power of Stevenson's prose while using a minimum amount of text. This is an impressive and vivid interpretation of Stevenson's timeless tale of the human spirit. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Gr 7 Up
This simplified retelling of the classic novella is clearly meant for students. There are quotes from the original throughout, but the majority of the text consists of paraphrased summaries of Stevenson's story. Vocabulary words and potentially confusing plot points are footnoted and explained. Sometimes this addition is well executed, but there are several instances in which words that are fairly self-explanatory are defined anyway, giving the book an overly educational feel. The story itself fills just 33 pages of a 48-page book. The rest of the space is filled with biographical information on Stevenson, a science/medicine/crime time line from 1765 to 1850, and a history of performances based on the novel. Gelev's artwork is skilled and realistic, and he does wonderful things with glowing lights from candles and lanterns. Unfortunately the art does not get a chance to shine because the layout isolates each (too-small) image from the others on the page. The only place where readers can really appreciate Gelev's talents is on the front cover, which shows Jekyll mixing the potion, drinking it, and turning into Hyde. Which, if you think about it, will spoil the biggest surprise in the story for anyone unfamiliar with it. This is a serviceable book for larger collections where classics in graphic novel form are needed.-Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library