“The Most Dangerous Game” features a big-game hunter from New York, who becomes shipwrecked on an isolated island in the Caribbean and is hunted by a Russian aristocrat.
Description taken from Goodreads.
Written originally in 1924, James Mascia is hoping to renew interest in Richard Connell’s MOST DANGEROUS GAME by bringing it into graphic novel form and putting a sci-fi twist on the island survival story. The high school English teacher is heading a project to bring the story to life with stunning artwork, aliens and action at every page. He is also hoping that the graphic novel will bring attention to other literature classics and be as successful promoting reading to teens as his other works.
I recently had the chance to interview James and learn more about his crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter, more details about the book, what inspired these retellings and himself.
I am an English teacher in Maryland. And many of my students don’t like to read, and some of those same students think there isn’t anything that will interest them. So, last year, I took the stories of Edgar Allan Poe and put them all together into a single story in my graphic novel called “The Poe Murders”. This got students to become familiar with the works of Poe who had never read him before. Some of my students even went on to read some Poe stories after being introduced to him in my graphic novel.
So, with that success, I decided I had to do another. One of the first stories that popped into my head was, “The Most Dangerous Game”. It has danger, and action, and I believe high interest for young readers. The plot is about a human being being hunted by another human being, after all. I checked into it, and the story is in the public domain, which means I can use it without fear of infringing on anyone’s copyright.
However, I didn’t want to do just a straight adaption, because to me that isn’t creative enough. So, I thought, what if it’s a science fiction story and instead of one human hunting another, the story will be about an alien hunting a human being. So, I rewrote the story and now we’re working on the artwork for it, which is amazing!
I’ve always enjoyed reading comic books and graphic novels, and I’ve always enjoyed writing. So, I suppose becoming a graphic novel author seemed only natural. The only problem I have is, while I am good at writing, I suck as an artist. So, creating a graphic novel isn’t as easy for me as it is for others as I have to work with artists. However, as I stated above, our artist, Satine Zillah, is amazing.
I am really not the person to answer that question since I am not the artist. What I can tell you is that I wrote very detailed descriptions of our four major characters (Rainsford, Whitney, Zaroff and Ivok). Satine has drawn them better than I could have imagined them. The way they are drawn is exactly as the descriptions suggest. She takes the words of my script and transforms them into masterpieces on the page.
What do you hope that reading the graphic novel version Most Dangerous Game will do for students as a companion or visual guide to the book?
Well, I want it to do a number of things. First, I want students to read it who have never read it before, and possibly then have them go back and read the original work. I would like to see teachers use it in classrooms to possibly have students compare and contrast this version with the original, or, use it as a replacement for some lower-level readers. I also hope that it inspires students to read as well as inspire them to create their own stories. As I tell my own students, if I can do it, so can they.
If “The Most Dangerous Game” is as successful as “The Poe Murders” has and continues to be. I will likely continue on with other classic literature, adapting and updating them to make them accessible to our teens today.
To find out more about this project and how you can help, visit the MOST DANGEROUS GAME Kickstarter page. You can see examples of the fantastic artwork below.