The Comics Get Serious logo

Peter and the Wolf. Composed by Sergei Prokofiev. Adapted by Miguelanxo Prado. Translated by Joe Johnson. New York: NBM, 1998. 22p. 15.95. ISBN 1-56163-200-7.


Adults, teens, children; very, very mild horrific elements

This "picture book comic" adapts the famous children's classical music piece. Young Peter lives in a house surrounded by a fence at the edge of "an immense forest as vast as the sea." His grandfather warns him not to go far from home, "and especially don't ever go done the road" that leads into the forest, for "a ravenous wolf, as big as a hurricane, prowls in there." But of course Grandfather's words of wisdom fall upon deaf ears. Peter goes just a little way into the forest, where he meets a bird and a duck who reiterate Grandfather's advice. As the duck and bird argue, a cat tries to eat the bird but misses. The bird's resultant clamor attracts Grandfather, who snarls at Peter from behind the fence, then walks off. Peter brushes off the old man's words as exaggerated. He hasn't seen any wolf!

However, the wolf is right behind him, and while the bird, cat, and Peter flee, the duck is snapped up in a single gulp. Peter determines to lay a trap for the wolf. With the help of the bird and some rope, the wolf is caught by the tail. Two hunters who had been tracking the beast shoot the wolf dead. Peter and Grandfather are saddened by the death of the magnificent creature, but when the body is paraded through the village, Peter's sadness changes to pride.

The book also includes a lengthy biography of Prado on the jacket and a short foreword by Prado, as well as a couple of full-page pictures, one standing behind Peter and the bird, cat, and duck looking into the forest, and one from the forest looking directly at the quartet.

This is a lovely book by an important European comics artist with 13 titles to his credit as well as the designs for the characters in the animated Men in Black series. The text is, of course, secondary to the fully painted art, which is soft and dark and uses light very well indeed. Dark greens and browns predominate, so that other colors--Peter's red shirt, the bird's red breast, the white-and-orange duck--really stand out. And note how the sky lightens at the end of the book, during the triumphant parade through the village--all of a sudden, the heavy threat of the wolf is gone, and the colors lighten as a result. (However, there is real sadness at the wolf's death, so make of the lighter colors what you will.) After this gorgeous creation, it's even harder to stomach the vastly inferior Power of Shazam!, which, though fully painted, is about as imaginative as a cliche.

The one gripe I have about this book is that it's a luxury item: 22 pages for $15.95 is a tad scanty, even for such beautiful art and a hardcover format. My guess is that others have felt the same way, as I got this book for half price at Media Play. It's a shame; it deserves a wide audience. It would be great fun for people, especially kids, to page through as they listened to Prokofiev's music. Recommended for kids especially.


Copyright 2000, D. Aviva Rothschild


Return to The Comics Get Serious main page

Return to Rational Magic Current Issue

Return to Rational Magic Home

Rational Magic logo