The “Secret of Kells” is one of the most distinguished animated films of recent memory. It offers the aesthetic bliss and deft storytelling of a Miyazaki or the best of Pixar but is unique in its love of text and textures. The story, at its heart, is an allegory for the power of art and culture. Brendan is an apprentice illuminator torn between devotions to master artist Aidan and his uncle Abbot Cellach, the head abbey of Kells. Aidan teaches Brendan the imaginative force of art and hopes that Brendan will help him to complete an illuminated manuscript– what will become the Book of Kells. Abbot Cellach is more concerned with fortifying the walls of Kells to protect his people from marauding vikings.
When we received “The Secret of Kells” for the Comics app, I was curious to see how such a a vivid moving experience would translate to a panel by panel experience. Smartly, creator Tomm Moore and his creative team have reconfigured the stylings of the film while maintaining the use of illuminated manuscripts as an artistic base. Each page of the comic has its own ornate design, finding clever framing devices that are true to the story and each dramatic moment.
Here is how one of my favorite moments from the film takes on a new life in the comic.
The sinuous tree trunks here mimic a framing device seen in the film. But since we have a sequence rather than one shot, the frames form a larger grouping and create their own discrete pattern. Layouts such as these add further depth to the mood and meaning of the film.
“The Secret of Kells” comic is a rare work that supplements the original while truly standing alone as its own read.
Tagged: animated films · GKIDS · graphic novel · Secret of Kells · Tomm Moore
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