I just finished the Ender’s Game comic series from Marvel. It was not what I expected and it is hard to imagine what it would have been like if I had not read the novel three or four times already. But it was good. Great even. The style was mesmerizing and the adaptation really worked.
Orson Scott Card, author of the Ender books, did not work directly on the adaptation, but he is credited as the Creative and Executive Director. Which means he got to exercise control over the project. And as I was reading through the series, I was paying attention to the method of adaptation. I was curious how OSC would craft Ender’s Game into a visual medium.
He has long struggled with getting a film version of the book off the ground. Last I heard, he had completely taken over adaptation of the book and was writing the first versions of the screenplay himself. Because so much of the book takes place in the solitude of Ender’s mind, he struggled with how to portray that in a movie. I had a feeling that this comic might be a kind of test of how effectively he could translate it to a visual medium.
You can see why OSC is a good writer, though. He stripped the story down and rebuilt it with none of the excess that a movie can afford. The story movies quickly with no unnecessary repetition. The side-story about Peter and Valentine and their rise as Locke and Demosthenes is completely removed with absolutely no mention. The ending is cut short because it no longer has to set up Speaker for the Dead as the novel was intended to do.
Now, some of these missing pieces may be covered in the Ender’s Shadow comic series that parallels the Ender’s Game series. I haven’t read this other series yet, but I do plan to. The Ender’s Shadow book series was very interesting. Many of the left out elements, other than the Speaker for the Dead, would fit very well in the Shadow series. I expect this parallel series will shed even more light on the approach to creating a movie version of the Ender stories.
I am very excited to have this additional version of the Ender’s Game story, as it is my all-time, favorite book. I plan to read the Shadow series just as soon as I can as well as the one-off Mazer Rackham comic. If you are a fan of Ender’s Game I suggest you give these comics a look. If you’ve never read the book, start off with the comic and I’d love to hear what you think of them. I am now eagerly awaiting new information about the film adaptation and the possible Battle Room videogame being developed by Chair.