Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation

Octavia E. Butler’s bestselling literary science-fiction masterpiece, Kindred, now in graphic novel format.   More than 35 years after its release, Kindred continues to draw in new readers with its deep exploration of the violence and loss of humanity caused by slavery in the United States, and its complex and lasting impact on the present day. Adapted by celebrated acade...

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Title:Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation
Author:Octavia E. Butler
Rating:
ISBN:141970947X
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:240 pages

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation Reviews

  • Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
    Jan 07, 2017

    3.5 stars

    I’ve not read Kindred, but I want to get more into graphic novels again, so I couldn’t pass this up at ALA. I struggled a bit with Parable of the Sower, the one Butler novel I read, but the graphic novel format worked really well.

    Reading an advance graphic novel is interesting. Take this review with a whole lot of salt, because the final graphic novel’s going to be in color, but the ARC is black and white and much of it isn’t close to final art. Towards the end, some panels are even jus

    3.5 stars

    I’ve not read Kindred, but I want to get more into graphic novels again, so I couldn’t pass this up at ALA. I struggled a bit with Parable of the Sower, the one Butler novel I read, but the graphic novel format worked really well.

    Reading an advance graphic novel is interesting. Take this review with a whole lot of salt, because the final graphic novel’s going to be in color, but the ARC is black and white and much of it isn’t close to final art. Towards the end, some panels are even just very rough early sketches. The art wasn’t what I was excited about here, so that’s okay.

    Kindred‘s another one of those stories that’s compelling but really painful to read. Everything’s terrible basically all of the time. I mean, it’s about a black woman mysteriously time traveling to a plantation during the era of slavery. Butler does an amazing job highlighting how toxic that time period was and just how easy it can be to get caught up in horrible patterns. The way that Dana, a modern woman, adjusts to slavery is terrifying, as is the way that those attitudes affect her white husband, Kevin, after he ends up trapped in the past for a while. And, realistically, they actually probably had a better time of it than they really would have, which makes everything scarier. This release is happening at a time when we all need the reminder of what we can’t let America be again.

    There’s a sense at times that something’s missing. Particularly in the climax, there are a couple of panels where I’m not sure what actually happened.

    The graphic novel’s much shorter than the actual book, and there’s less text, so obviously some things are simplified or removed. The story’s still effective, but I do rather want to read the actual book now and see what I missed and if some arcs work a bit better that way.

    Kindred serves as a fast-paced, easy reading, ouch my feels introduction to Octavia Butler. After reading this, I very much want to try more of her novels.

  • Allie
    Jan 27, 2017

    I'm pretty bummed that I didn't like this. To be fair, it's hard to compare anything to the brilliance of the original novel; but there's definitely something lost in the visual translation.

    Ok so more thoughts. I really hated the visual style. I found it super distracting and really broad and flashy in ways that the book was subtle and quiet. I hated Kevin in this version. In the novel I found him quiet and unassuming, where here he was non-st

    I'm pretty bummed that I didn't like this. To be fair, it's hard to compare anything to the brilliance of the original novel; but there's definitely something lost in the visual translation.

    Ok so more thoughts. I really hated the visual style. I found it super distracting and really broad and flashy in ways that the book was subtle and quiet. I hated Kevin in this version. In the novel I found him quiet and unassuming, where here he was non-stop annoying. For me the novel packed way more of an emotional punch. The prose is really stunning and the characters are so well-drawn. But here I found the characterization very clumsy and nothing really hit me with the same emotional resonance. I'm not going to rate it because it's just not for me, and because it feels wrong to give any version of Kindred a bad rating. Just read the novel! It's so good!

  • Arlene (Urbrightside)
    Jan 17, 2017

    Having just read the novel of this book, seeing it in graphic formation was just wonderful.

    The comic rendition was drawn in a way that I feel keeps the feeling of the novel. It is shorter, but I feel it keeps true to the story nonetheless.

    I like the color scheme and the lines, there's a picture and on page 174 (of the Kindle version) where you see Dana transported between time and I felt like that was exactly how I pictured it in my mind.

    But of course since this is the graphic novel adaption

    Having just read the novel of this book, seeing it in graphic formation was just wonderful.

    The comic rendition was drawn in a way that I feel keeps the feeling of the novel. It is shorter, but I feel it keeps true to the story nonetheless.

    I like the color scheme and the lines, there's a picture and on page 174 (of the Kindle version) where you see Dana transported between time and I felt like that was exactly how I pictured it in my mind.

    But of course since this is the graphic novel adaption it's not AS graphic as the novel, but it's still really, really good.

  • Taryn
    Jan 10, 2017

    is the tale of a black woman who is repeatedly transported from her 1970s apartment to antebellum Maryland. The main reason I requested the adaptation was so that I would finally force myself to read the full-length novel. I'm so glad I did because it ended up being one of my favorites last year!

    John Jennings and Damian Duffy they did

    is the tale of a black woman who is repeatedly transported from her 1970s apartment to antebellum Maryland. The main reason I requested the adaptation was so that I would finally force myself to read the full-length novel. I'm so glad I did because it ended up being one of my favorites last year!

    John Jennings and Damian Duffy they did a fantastic job of adapting Octavia Butler's story. The review below is for the graphic novel adaptation only. My review for the full-length novel is available

    .

    The introduction is written by speculative fiction writer Nnedi Okorafor. She writes about how Octavia Butler inspired her when she needed it the most. Learning about Butler's kindness and how she made time to mentor a gifted new writer gave me a whole new level of admiration for her!

    is one of the most memorable books from my childhood book collection. The scratchboard illustrations by Brian Pinkney shaped how I visualize the antebellum South (

    ). While the artwork of

    is unique to artist John Jennings, the earthiness of the illustrations made me immediately recall that book. Jennings's style somehow made me feel

    There's a

    to the illustrations that convey the extreme stress that Dana's body is being subjected to.

    and reminded of how differently Dana processed the two different worlds:

    I appreciated the art even more after viewing

    and seeing how the art for

    differs from his usual style. Here is a

    but you can see some

    for his various projects if you scroll through his blog.

    . The omissions are going to be harder for me to pinpoint because I read the two books so close together. However, I missed the part where one of the plantation slaves explains the reasoning behind her children's names. That part was probably easy to cut because many could probably make that connection on their own!

    While there are necessary omissions, there are also parts where

    Being able to see Dana's facial expressions tempered my only complaint of the full-length novel—that Dana seemed so detached, unusually accepting of her situation. At one point in the original novel, Dana has to put her copy of

    aside because she's unable to stomach its representation of slavery after what she has experienced. I mentally pictured her throwing it across the room. The illustration shows her tossing it in the garbage can, which I thought was an appropriate visual.

    One of the pages that impacted me most was after Dana convinces one of the slaves to submit to her owner's desires.

    (pg. 158,

    ) Minimal words, but the illustrations pack such a punch. Another page that I found memorable is at the end of

    (pg. 99), when Dana is reaching for Kevin as the whip comes down and she disappears.

    The graphic novel is such an awesome format for Octavia Butler's classic book and would make a great gift for her fans. It would also be a great way to introduce yourself to the story if you're not ready to commit to the whole novel or you don't think you'll be able to make time for it anytime soon. I do recommend reading the novel first because it's a very fast-paced and action-packed experience!

    If you are interested in John Jennings's artwork, his Hoodoo Noir graphic novella

    (pub. date 3/1/17) is currently available in the 'Read Now' section Netgalley.

  • Laura
    Nov 07, 2016

    Good books make you cry. Great books make you think. Fantastic books stay with you long after you read them, and haunt you with their story. This book, this book has all those factors. If the story is this good in graphic novel form, it makes me feels I should run right out and read the original.

    I thought, when I got it, I would flip through a few pages, and then go back to work. Well, 200 something pages later, I had not gone back to work.

    Very moving story of a young, black woman from 1976, goi

    Good books make you cry. Great books make you think. Fantastic books stay with you long after you read them, and haunt you with their story. This book, this book has all those factors. If the story is this good in graphic novel form, it makes me feels I should run right out and read the original.

    I thought, when I got it, I would flip through a few pages, and then go back to work. Well, 200 something pages later, I had not gone back to work.

    Very moving story of a young, black woman from 1976, going back in time to save an ancestor. This happens several time, each time, returning seconds, or hours after she left. She only knows it is happening when she gets dizzy. And the time she is send back to has to be one of the worse times to be black, as she finds herself on a plantation in pre-civil war Maryland. And the ancestor she has to save, is the son of the plantation owner.

    Worse, then having to keep saving the white man, is that the woman who would be her great-great-great-something grandmother is black, and wants nothing to do with the son.

    And in between, we see a non-whitewashed, so to speak, story of life as a slave. This graphic novel makes this book available to many more people, people who should read it. This should be offered in schools, in libraries, and anywhere people need to read this, and understand the history of the black people in the US. Very sad, very moving, and very compelling.

    Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.

  • Char
    Nov 27, 2016

    3.5/5 stars!

    is a book I've been wanting to read for a while, but my hectic schedule, (read: my inability to stop requesting books from Net Galley), hasn't allowed me the time to squeeze it in. When I saw this graphic novel adaptation available on, (where else?), Net Galley, I had to have it. Luckily, they approved me and here we are.

    I enjoyed the heck out of this story-as much as a story partly about slavery can be enjoyed. Dana, (a young black woman), through some unknown mechanism, ge

    3.5/5 stars!

    is a book I've been wanting to read for a while, but my hectic schedule, (read: my inability to stop requesting books from Net Galley), hasn't allowed me the time to squeeze it in. When I saw this graphic novel adaptation available on, (where else?), Net Galley, I had to have it. Luckily, they approved me and here we are.

    I enjoyed the heck out of this story-as much as a story partly about slavery can be enjoyed. Dana, (a young black woman), through some unknown mechanism, gets pulled back in time every time young Rufus' life is in danger. She doesn't know Rufus from Adam, but he's in trouble and she comes to his aid. As the story goes on, we discover that Dana has been pulled from the 1970's back into the time of slavery. The time travel aspect is never explained, so I tried to accept it as a given. After a period of time, Dana is sucked back into her current time and into her white husband Kevin's, loving arms.

    Upon her return, Dana explains to Kevin what happened. The next time it happens, Kevin is pulled into the past along with her and again, Rufus' life is saved. I don't want to say anymore about the plot because...spoilers. (In case there is anyone else out there who hasn't read the book, other than me.)

    I liked the story and I did like Dana and Kevin. However, the characters back in the time of slavery were not as well developed as I would have liked. (Perhaps they are more developed in the novel itself?) My main problem with this graphic novel is the illustration. I was not all that fond of the graphics. I did end up getting used to the illustrator's style, but overall it didn't work that well for me. Perhaps the graphic novels that I have experience with all have superior illustrations, (The Sandman Series, Preacher, American Vampire) and that's why I was disappointed? Or perhaps these graphics were just a bit sub-par.

    This was a great way to familiarize myself with the story so I'm not entirely ignorant anymore. It also did whet my appetite for the original tale. Overall, I would recommend this graphic novel to readers like me-ones that have a hard time fitting a long novel into their reading schedule. Just don't expect the graphics to knock your socks off and you'll be fine.

    You can pre-order your copy here:

    *Thanks to Net Galley and Abrams ComicArts for the e-ARC of this graphic novel in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

  • Ivy Reisner
    Nov 17, 2016

    I hate giving this story in any form less than five stars. It's one of the masterworks of speculative fiction, and one of the greatest novels of all time. I highly recommend the original.

    The artwork cost it a star. It's just bad. There are these weird excess lines as if the face were drawn, then fixed, then the original line was just kind of left there. There are key points in the book (such as how she lost her arm -- no spoiler, that's mentioned in the first line) that are just unclear because

    I hate giving this story in any form less than five stars. It's one of the masterworks of speculative fiction, and one of the greatest novels of all time. I highly recommend the original.

    The artwork cost it a star. It's just bad. There are these weird excess lines as if the face were drawn, then fixed, then the original line was just kind of left there. There are key points in the book (such as how she lost her arm -- no spoiler, that's mentioned in the first line) that are just unclear because of the way it's drawn and adapted.

    The story on the surface involves a woman pulled back in time to keep rescuing her ancestor from all sorts of mortal peril. For those who aren't used to speculative fiction, but are coming at this because it's a brilliant story for fans of any genre (really, if you like books at all, read the original) normal time travel questions abound, such as "how could she go back to rescue him if he died the first time before siring her ancestress?" It's the issue with the trope. Just go with it.

    The real story is of a plantation, as seen through modern eyes, as it passes hands and slaves are bought and sold, and put through the hell that is slavery. It shows the progression, and lack of progression, of a single slaveholder as he is torn between the norms of his time, his own weakness of will, and the greater angel that tries (sometimes successfully) to guide him.

    It is the story of a modern woman forced to face head on the reality of her many times great grandmothers and grandfathers and in the process learn what freedom means, what trust means, and what love means. She finds her strength to never give in to the horror of slavery, and more, when she feels she should doubt the person she loves most, she finds the strength to give in to trust.

    As a story, it is astonishing. As an adaptation, it falls shy. I guess I'm more used to the art style of Marvel and DC, but this looked clumsy. There are sections of prose thrown in directly from the book because the artist couldn't portray it in the comic form. There are sections made less clear in the comic than they were in the novel (it seems like she can't decide if she's trying to pass as Kevin's slave or a free woman in the beginning).

    I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  • Dov Zeller
    Jan 20, 2017

    Octavia Butler is something of a hero among several of my friends and I've been told many times over the years to read her. I've tried before without much success. The prose just doesn't pull me in. This winter I finally got a little deeper into two Butler novels, Fledgling and Kindred. Fledgling I listened to about half of and then for the rest read a synopsis. Kindred I listened to a few chapters of and then read this graphic adaptation, and I'm grateful to finally have a little more of a conn

    Octavia Butler is something of a hero among several of my friends and I've been told many times over the years to read her. I've tried before without much success. The prose just doesn't pull me in. This winter I finally got a little deeper into two Butler novels, Fledgling and Kindred. Fledgling I listened to about half of and then for the rest read a synopsis. Kindred I listened to a few chapters of and then read this graphic adaptation, and I'm grateful to finally have a little more of a connection to her work She's definitely not for me in terms of style, but as a philosopher and a social critic, she's brilliant.

    Kindred is the story of a 'modern' biracial couple, Dana and Kevin, a black woman and a white man, that stumbles into a troubling dilemma. The woman is somehow time-connected with a white, slave-owning great grandfather whose life keeps falling into danger, and when it does, starting when he is a very young child, he somehow calls for her and she vanishes from her home and appears at his plantation. This puts her in all kinds of danger--a black woman of the 20th century landing on a plantation in the South in the 1830s. It's complicated by the fact that they find a way for Kevin to come with Dana, and his whiteness works sometimes as protection, but also puts them in some danger. And because he doesn't want to risk her traveling there without him, he winds up staying there while she returns home, where in contemporary minutes, years could go by in the time-travel-past.

    Dana and Kevin watch as slaves are bought and sold and brutalized. They try to find ways of fitting in, resisting, learning, being a support to the slaves and also to Rufus, Dana's white great+++? grandfather. The relationship is complex in that Rufus is in some ways struggling to break away from a culture in which men are taught to exploit and abuse. He vacillates between abusive rages, predatory sexual behavior, and a sensitivity and affection that gives Dana room for hope.

    All in all this book raises a lot of questions about relationships, history, responsibility and trust, and the ending is, I thought, brilliant, in terms of plot structure and resistance/courage.

    The art in this book I feel ambivalent about. I think it's just about aesthetic preference in terms of storytelling. The art is beautiful, but the style I find to be distracting. There are a lot of extra lines, a lot of bright blues. There is one section where everything is washed in a light violet, which was kind of cool. There are different color schemes in different parts of the book (past/present, etc) but there is so much going on visually that it's hard for me to make sense of it. I thought some of the extreme close-ups were beautifully done. The style can be cartoony and caricature-ish but also some panels have the richness of a painting.

    I found it hard to tolerate Kevin. I read him as arrogant and kind of uninteresting. I'm not sure if that is what Butler intended. If not, I wonder if it is the way he is portrayed in here. Or maybe Butler's fictional worlds value/have tolerance for characters I don't find appealing? Hard to say. I'm very curious what other people think of him--in this graphic version and/or in the prose novel.

  • Elizabeth A
    Feb 15, 2017

    I have only read one book by the author to date, and really disliked it. That book, in case you are wondering, is Dawn. It's not that I don't like sci-fi/fantasy, it's that when I read a book I expect to either learn something, or be entertained, so don't get me started on my issues with tentacles in Dawn. That experience did not encourage me to read any more of her books, and it's a shame as so many people think she's one of the sci-fi greats.

    When I saw this graphic novel adaptation of one of h

    I have only read one book by the author to date, and really disliked it. That book, in case you are wondering, is Dawn. It's not that I don't like sci-fi/fantasy, it's that when I read a book I expect to either learn something, or be entertained, so don't get me started on my issues with tentacles in Dawn. That experience did not encourage me to read any more of her books, and it's a shame as so many people think she's one of the sci-fi greats.

    When I saw this graphic novel adaptation of one of her more recommended books I decided to dip my toes back into the water. Imagine my delight when I found myself swept away in this tale. The story centers around Dana, a young black woman who suddenly time travels between her home in 1970s California and the pre-Civil War South.

    I'm usually annoyed by time travel tales where a woman goes back in time, and happily decides to stay. This book wonderfully and painfully explores the perils of going back those so called halcyon days of old. Some of the themes explored include race, gender, slavery, and ancestry, and I love that the author does not shy away really looking at the multiple facets of these complicated constructs. I also really liked the art style and color used in this one.

    I plan to pick up the novel, and will keep my fingers crossed that it works as well in prose form.

  • Derek Parker
    Feb 12, 2017

    I'd like to say that this is a great adaptation of Butler's classic sci-fi novel, but I've never read the original Kindred. Regardless, Jennings and Duffy do an outstanding job of using the visual medium to (re)tell an engaging narrative that addresses profound issues of race in America. This is one of those adaptations, I would guess, where an awareness of the original isn't necessary to appreciate the translation.