From the TV series’ upcoming third season to the long-awaited second book, The Handmaid’s Tale is everywhere in a big way this year. But Margaret Atwood’s iconic dystopian story is also getting new life as a sumptuous new graphic novel—and ahead of its release this week, io9 has a look inside.
Being published by Doubleday Books, The Handmaid’s Tale graphic novel is adapted and illustrated by Canadian artist Renée Nault, and marks the first time Atwood’s novel has ever been adapted into comics form. The project has actually been in the works for years—Nault began teasing the graphic novel in 2017—but now we finally have a good look inside ahead of its wide release.
For Atwood, Nault was the perfect choice to bring her world to life as a comic. “The publishers—Ellen Seligman and Anita Chong—assembled a number of portfolios, and we went over them together, Renée had done a lot of homework, and already had figured out how she wanted things to look” she said in a statement provided to io9. “Also she was going to hand-colour every panel—which, despite its being so painstaking, she did. The result is gorgeous, you must admit.”
“I purposefully avoided watching the television series or the movie, since I didn’t want their visions of the story to influence mine,” Nault added. “It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where my inspiration comes from. All the things I see, experience, and consume will live in my head and mix together there, sometimes over years. But the inspiration for the Handmaid’s Tale came almost entirely from the novel itself. My hope was to not just show the story with pictures, but to capture the spirit of the novel. I feel like a like the comics form is uniquely suited to this task.”
You can see an example of Nault’s gorgeous approach below, in our exclusive look at Offred’s first encounter with Serena Joy in Gilead:
The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel hits shelves tomorrow, March 26.
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