Faith Erin Hicks Pays Comic Tribute to ‘A Wrinkle in Time,’ ‘Alien’ and More
Faith Erin Hicks is gradually colonizing my brain. Apparently, it wasn’t enough that she created The Adventures of Superhero Girl, which details the events, both fantastic and mundane, in the life of an entry-level superhero; or that she wrote Friends with Boys, her recently released First Second book about formerly homeschooled girl navigating the perils of high school while being haunted by a ghost; or even that she created her own comic adaptation of the opening pages of The Hunger Games. No, she also had to become a regular contributor to the genre fiction site Tor.com, where she makes short comics tributes to some of her favorite works of geeky fiction, from Alien to Avatar: The Last Airbender.Hicks made her first appearance on Tor.com with “Exactly What Happened in A Wrinkle in Time,” a short, funny comic in honor of the 50th anniversary of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic novel. It fixates on the dystopian portion of the book, when Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace travel to the conformist planet of Camazotz. Hicks has a wonderfully manic interpretation of the book’s key scenes, and I couldn’t be more pleased that Tor contracted her for the job.
It turns out that Hicks has become Tor’s regular cartooning culture commentator. Each comic she does for them is short, but she offers smart, insightful and often personal takes on familiar stories in the span of just a page or two. In a comic about Alien, she takes offense at the movie’s description as a “saga,” feeling it detracts from the point that the Nostromo crew are just working stiffs who are trying to make it through a particularly dangerous job. She analogizes Katniss Everdeen’s entrance into the Hunger Games to her father’s own entrance into the Vietnam War at age 18. And she permits herself some fan gushing over Avatar: The Last Airbender in anticipation of The Legend of Korra.
After seeing Hicks’ five-page Hunger Games adaptation, I’d hoped that she might do a full-length comic version. However, Hicks has repeatedly said that she’s too busy working on her own characters and her own stories to make a comics based on someone else’s property. (She’s currently working on a second graphic novel for First Second.) These short comics, however, offer the best of both worlds: we get to see Hicks’ interpretations of a number of existing properties while she continues to work on her original stories.