cover image Phantom of the Opera: The Graphic Novel

Phantom of the Opera: The Graphic Novel

Varga Tomi. A Wave Blue World, $16.99 (128p) ISBN 978-1949518-09-2

The latest of several graphic adaptations of the Gothic melodrama captures the glamor of the 19th-century Paris Opera but stumbles on the human story. As in Gaston Leroux’s novel, young singer Christine Daaé is entranced by the mysterious “Opera ghost” who takes her under his tutelage. Those who interfere with the Phantom’s plans for his protégé, including her suitor Raoul, face deadly retaliation. Tomi lavishes attention on the period setting and costumes. The opera house becomes a character, full of glittering décor, eerie catacombs, and crowds of extras. The Phantom, drawn in gruesome detail that owes a debt to classic horror cartoonists like Bernie Wrightson, is a terrifying treat to behold. But the other characters often appear awkward and saggy, and their story gets lost amid the spectacle. Chunks of plot, meanwhile, are covered in text at the beginning of each chapter rather than dramatized. Christine’s dedication to her art, an element often lost in other adaptations, is the strongest thread. “There is some music that is so terrible that it consumes all those who approach it,” the Phantom warns her, forcing her to choose between artistic greatness and humanity. Despite its flaws, this adaptation proves a faithful and attractive enough version that die-hard Phantom fans will likely pick it up. (Nov.)