One of my favorite novels growing up was Frank Herbert‘s Dune. It was one of those novels that had a huge impact on my life. With the new two-part film releasing in 2021, I found I was itching to reread the novel. When Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert’s son, announced he would be creating a graphic novel adaptation, I knew I needed to check it out. He worked alongside Kevin J. Anderson, Raúl Allén, and Patricia Martín. Dune: The Graphic Novel: Book 1 is true to the original novel and perfect for those looking to start the series for the first time.
Dune: The Graphic Novel: Book 1 serves to introduce the reader to the series’s start. It covers the original novel’s beginning events, where we see Duke Leto Atreides settle into his new life on Arrakis. Readers are also introduced to Shaddam and his loyalists, who begin to plot their fight against Atreides and win back their home. It sets the stage for the events that will take place over the next three novels. While it is faithful to the source material, it is not word-for-word, which is refreshing in its own way.
Dune: The Graphic Novel: Book One‘s charm lies in the art details. Frank Herbert created a vast and beautiful world in the original novels. Allén and Martín’s art style work well together to bring the world to life throughout the graphic novel. The way they can breathe life into Arrakis and Caladan makes me want full-size images to decorate my walls with. They even do a fantastic job of telling the story through the art as well. From the characters’ facial expressions to each scene’s major tone, everything comes together to carry the story forward.
The story itself heavily centers on introducing readers to the world and the characters within and lacks the traditional action-packed events that tend to do well in comics. However, it still manages to draw you in and keep you invested. This is done through a perfect balance between the writing and artwork throughout the novel. Herbert knows when to use words to drive the story forward and allow the art to do the work. Which means those powerful artistic moments have an even stronger impact.
Those who want to read the novel before the film but don’t have the time or overall energy needed to read the original novels, Dune: The Graphic Novel: Book One is worth checking out. It has everything you would want to know from the original novel, such as plot points, character relationships and world story building without the heavy amount of information that can weigh down a novel. For those who have read the novel in the past, this is a perfect catch up before the movie releases in a few months!