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Wolfwalkers: The Graphic Novel (A Short Book Review)

Based on the film by: Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart

Adapted by: Sam Sattin

Published by: Little, Brown Books (Hachette Book Group)

Trailer for the animated movie:

The Cartoon Saloon animation studio has achieved a great deal of acclaim with their beautifully drawn movies in recent years, focused around stories and legends from Ireland (sprinkled with historical insights). They are the minds behind The Secret of Kells and The Song of the Sea (about selkies).

Their most recent treasure, Wolfwalkers, takes place in Kilkenny during the 1600s, amid Oliver Cromwell’s invasion of The Emerald Isle. In an effort to “tame” the population and their beliefs, an army gets brought in to get villagers to help mow down the forests just outside the city, only to meet fierce opposition by the few remaining members of the wolfwalkers clan, or those with the ability to project their souls as wolves while their human bodies are asleep to roam the land. The opening pages of the graphic novel lay out the legend with storybook illustrations that the reputed (not verified, even by the story) origins of the wolfwalkers due to a blessing (or curse, possibly) by Saint Patrick.

Robyn Goodfellowe and her father, who works as a hunter of wolves for Cromwell, come along with the army to Kilkenny. As the story progresses, however, Robyn comes to learn more about the situation in the city and the devastation being caused by the invaders, especially after meeting the young wolfwalker Mebh, whose mother has gone missing. They become close friends, and tensions rise as Robyn and Mebh seek to help each other, claim their freedom from oppression, and save the forest from destruction.

Wolfwalkers is a gorgeous film. The only problem is that it is largely unavailable anywhere but to subscribers of Apple TV+. A movie collection, Irish Folklore Trilogy, did get released several months ago, which contains all three animated films from Cartoon Saloon. However, it is a bit of an expensive way to get the Wolfwalkers on DVD, especially if the purchaser has already gotten the other two films in the collection. But hopefully Wolfwalkers will someday get released as a single DVD as well.

The graphic novel for Wolkwalkers makes up for that lack of availability in many great ways. Each page features images from the actual movie, complete with dialogue that basically progresses from beginning to end in the same way as in the film. Most, if not all, of the film’s dialogue is in there. The pacing is just as smooth and fast-paced as the movie as well. As such, you can enjoy the movie in a visual way without needing to get a subscription service or buying a whole DVD collection.

I would definitely recommend that you go “running with the wolves.”


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