Comic Review: H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau (IDW Publishing)

The Island of Dr. Moreau, originally written by H.G. Wells in 1896, is the subject of this new hardcover from IDW. Ted Adams adapts it, condensing the novel to the […]

The Island of Dr. Moreau, originally written by H.G. Wells in 1896, is the subject of this new hardcover from IDW. Ted Adams adapts it, condensing the novel to the graphic novel short format. I say ‘short’ because the story content runs about 55 pages,

It’s a strongly visual adaptation of the classic tale: Dr. Moreau, who experiments on wild jungle animals, working to convert them into part-humans. Tortured, they subsist and survive, in a semi-lucid state, enhanced by science, able to speak, but denied a life of dignity. Into this morose scene arrives a shipwreck victim, Ellie Prendick. The story is all about Ellie’s time on the island, and her dramatic discoveries and struggles with Moreau’s ‘new order’.

The visuals, as I mention, are highly detailed and crafted with care. Gabriel Rodriguez is a very talented artist, and his figures, landscapes, and animals bring to mind past comic veterans such as Berni Wrightson, Alfredo Alcala, and even Joe Kubert. His human figures are strangely ‘short’ in proportion, a big change from the typical comic book figures who stand 8 or even 9 heads high; Rodriguez people by contrast measure from 6 to 7 heads high instead.

The Island of Dr. Moreau is indeed a celebration of the double-page spread: figures and dialogue sprawl horizontally like the horizon, from page to page. This gives us the opportunity to enjoy the visuals and the magnificently lush colouring by Nelson David to full effect.

Art lovers will perhaps appreciate Rodriguez’s many many blue line drawings and partly inked illustrations that follow as bonus pages. Those who may be interested in the ‘why and how’ of Ted Adams and Gabriel Rodriguez’s work on The Island of Dr. Moreau will find their interview a fascinating six-page read too.

IDW, The Island Of Dr. Moreau, hardcover, $24.99 for 124 pages.

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!