It’s so hot today I have my curtains closed to block out the sun and attempt to keep my room cool enough so that I can draw without panting like a hungry dog. So I get my Frankie pages out whilst I’m adjusting to the new temperature.
These pages deal with murder, specifically infanticide. When tasked with adapting the novel for “younger readers” (younger than what?) I encountered several issues regarding content. It’s a common belief among the professional circles I frequent that there are some subjects that should neither be depicted or even alluded to in such fictional works, for fear of “damaging” the minds of these readers. However, I have more faith in the adaptability and resilience of the human mind regardless of age, and I also recall the many seemingly “unsuitable” moments and themes I read when a child and how they affected me. Whilst reading the X-Men at age 8 I was served the rich banquet of tragedy, bigotry, love, hate, sex, murder, betrayal, racial diversity, gender ambiguity, madness, ecological destruction, delusion, evil, compassion, loss, death, birth, nudity, urban decay, technological advancement, technological perversion, violence, smoking, drinking, drugs, disability, and many other things which reflected the outside world in all it’s amazing diversity, and because it was fictional (and tackled with integrity and balance) it never did me any actual actual harm.
Oh for sure, I cried a lot at the sad and horrid bits, I even pondered my own mortality a good few times, I dwelt upon the aching pain of regret as well as the injustice of unwarranted aggression, but to this day I see those experiences as an innoculation against the shock of entering the world once I became a grown-up, something I am thankful for.
Thus, when I was considering wether or not to depict the murder of the boy in these pages I recalled those experiences and wondered how it would have affected me as a youth, and the conclusion I drew was that to remove it or censor it too harshly would remove all the character from the scene, making it redundant and even dismissive of the act itself. That moment was meant to shock, for the writer wanted us to understand the disconnect the Monster has with humanity, its disregard for all life regardless of age/gender/race etc. An important theme within the original book, and one I felt was important to transfer to my adaptation.
Plus, no-one combusted or turned to alabaster whilst reading it so I guess I made the right choice. Remember folks, just because you’re young doesn’t mean you’re stupid.