I am here today to talk about adaptions, reboots and revamps. Most of you don't know this about me, but I am a HUGE Archie Comics fan, and have been for as long as I can remember. (Although that is not a very long time considering Archie has been around for many decades more than I have.) Anyway, I was trying to come up with something to discuss, and realized that the news and recent release of a modern, redesigned Archie (and his friends) was an interesting topic to discuss in a broader light.
I'd first like to talk about my opinions toward the new Archie Comics' design, since that is what brought me to this topic. To be honest, I was initially very worried and upset that they redesigned Archie and gang. Although Archie has gone through many revamps throughout the years, this has definitely been the most drastic one. Despite going into the new comic very pessimistically, I was pleasantly surprised. The art was new and different than the Archie comics I know and love, but I found myself still enjoying the story and artwork nonetheless. The Archie/Betty/Veronica love triangle origins are a bit different than I remember, but it still was a great start to the new, redesigned series, and I am looking forward to seeing what's to come. In addition, there was also the (not-so) recent news that there will be a Archie live-action TV show on the CW called Riverdale. I have not heard much about it other than that, but it will definitely be interesting to see how that goes as well.
Moving on to the general discussion…
I think it is only natural for us to be weary of the unknown. We do it all the time, whether faced with changes to a beloved book/series/etc. or just with life in general. I think our biggest issues with these changes, at least in terms of beloved books and/or comics, is that we 1) want the characters to be portrayed correctly, and 2) want the plot to remain true to the story. For example, although I truly do like Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, I will admit that when I first found out she was playing the role, I was stunned. And not exactly in a good way. I could never really place my finger on what I had expected Katniss to look like, but until I actually saw the movie, Jennifer Lawrence was definitely not what I had in mind. Right away, just because of my first impressions of the casting, I wasn't as sure about seeing the movie adaption. I offer my apologies to Jennifer Lawrence, who completely proved me wrong. Now I cannot imagine anyone else being a better Katniss. Although I was not pleased by some alterations in the movie's plot details, the character portrayal/performance in the movie was ultimately well done and satisfied my inner fangirl.
Books and comics are always being changed. Sometimes it is simply cover designs being changed, but other times original content is being adapted into TV shows or movies (or sometimes even spinoff series). I always go into these new books, movies or TV shows wearily. I think we all think it: They better not ruin this or If they cut out [such and such plot point]… The truth is, we do think these things. And I fully understand why. But at the same time, I believe that we shouldn't judge something right away just because it might ruin the original. There have been times where I felt like the adaptions or changes completely didn't meet the standards of the original, but at the same time there is always the possibility that it may surprise you, like the new Archie and The Hunger Games movie surprised me.
I prefer to read books before seeing the movie solely for that purpose -- to be able to have the story played out in our head my way -- before allowing others to tamper with the way we see it and reshape it in our minds. Although reading the book first can also cause problems (such as disappointment or feeling like the movie/TV show/whatever was miscast, misinterpreted, or sometimes just downright bad), at least we get to develop our own opinions and feelings toward the book and their characters first. I believe this also is applicable to revamps/reboots/redesigns. I think, however, that if a movie, any other new format, or even a reboot is bad, if we truly liked the book or original format, we can still always fall back onto that original and still love it… And just try to pretend that we were not changed by the horrible adaption/revamp. But if we're lucky, the revamp or new adaption will be great, and we can express our love for the content across various mediums and have twice the enjoyment.
What are your thoughts on adaptions and redesign? Do you usually avoid it? If you do end up trying out the adaption and hate it, does it change your original perception and feelings toward the original content? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. I'd love to hear from you!