In the House of the Worm #1 (Avatar)

House of worm
CREDIT: Avatar Press

Rating: 3/5 – Adapting Prose to Comics is Not Easy.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

Playing off the current popularity of the author George RR Martin, we get a comic book adaptation of the of the original short novella as a comic series.  Adapting prose to comics is not a matter of doing a straight translation and pacing plays a huge role since the original was likely read in a single sitting by many readers and here we’re given a fragment of the story each month.

On to the story: We’ve got a fantasy setting with a lot of extremely strange elements combining to weave a tale that at it’s core seems to focus on a spoiled aristocrat, Annelyn, seeking revenge against a ‘groun hunter’ named Meatbringer for interfering with his planned exploitation of a pretty young mushroom farmer.  There’s a fascination with worms, from eating handfuls of them to their leader being a ‘manworm’, ?surgically? altered to remove arms and legs to be more worm-like.  Strange.

Ivan Rodriguez does a great job on the art, visualizing George RR Martin’s strange world and he can certainly draw pretty women (pretty women and sexual situations being a core element in many of Martin’s works as fans of Game of Thrones know).  Given the page count in this issue, John Jos. Miller does as good a job as can be expected with the setup for the ultimate point of conflict for the story.  Add to that the numerous elements of Martin’s fantasy world that need to be introduced from the ground up (or ground down, given the subterranean setting of the story).  It’s a daunting task.

As a monthly series I think this will work a lot better for people who have read the original prose story and can now see it coming to life via Rodriguez’ art.  For people who have not read the original I think this is a story that may well fare much better when ultimately collected into a single TPB than it does as monthly serialized fiction.  My rating is as someone in the latter category reading this as a standalone 1st issue of a comic series.  It’s a well done adaptation and I’ll be checking the complete story out when the series is complete.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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