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Bouncing Off the Page

PICTURE THIS Author James Howe brings his Bunnicula stories to a graphic novel. COURTESY WARNER BROS. PICTURES (2)

Everyone’s favorite vampire bunny is back, and in vivid color! In Bunnicula: The Graphic Novel, James Howe adapts the original Bunnicula series for a new audience. Howe worked with writer Andrew Donkin and illustrator Stephen Gilpin to create a visually stunning page-turner in which the veggie-loving rabbit practically hops out at you.

Howe and his wife, Deborah, wrote the original novel in 1977. Other books about the rabbit would follow. When I spoke with Howe, I asked where he got the idea to bring the series back to life in a graphic novel. “When I was a kid, my favorite kind of reading was comic books,” he said. “I would have loved graphic novels, had they been around. So I thought Bunnicula would really suit this form well and be a lot of fun.”

There were interesting challenges, Howe said, in switching to a visual format. “Something that I was just suggesting for the reader to imagine [in the novels] is now going to have to be concretely seen,” he says. In making the graphic novel, the question was always, “So what is that going to look like?”

The team behind Bunnicula: The Graphic Novel seems to have mastered that process. There’s something for everyone. Fans of the original books will love seeing their furry friend reimagined in a new dimension. First-time readers will enjoy watching Bunnicula, Harold the Cat, and Chester the Dog forge their very unusual friendship. Howe says the story of these friendships may have been the key to Bunnicula’s appeal.

And there’s more good news: Howe says he’d like to adapt some of the bunny’s other adventures into graphic novels. So there’s plenty of fun to come.