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Monday, July 5, 2021

Adapting Alice

In the opening paragraph of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, protaganist Alice asked, What is the use of a book without pictures or conversations? This telling question would make the 1865 novel ripe for a comic book adaptation, specifically Marvel Classics Comics #35 (1978). Titled Alice in Wonderland, the comic-book retelling stayed faithful to Lewis Carroll's original text, with slight modifications. For instance, the comic book changed the name of the Hatter to the Mad Hatter, as he became commonly known in popular culture.

Within the comic book, Alice looked similar to her depiction in the 1951 animated Disney film. Most other characters in the comic, however, resembled the illustrations of John Tenniel originally published in the novel. In fact, the comic book reproduced some of Tenniel's artwork on the inside back cover, along with the poem You Are Old, Father William; in the novel, that poem appeared in the chapter with the Caterpillar (a character who would cross over to superhero comics and meet Dr. Strange.)

Abridging the story for space left the Marvel Classics Comics adaptation with the following chapter order:

  1. Down the Rabbit Hole
  2. The Pool of Tears
  3. A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale
  4. The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill
  5. Advice from a Caterpillar
  6. Pig and Pepper
  7. A Mad Tea-Party
  8. The Queen's Croquet-Ground
  9. Who Stole the Tart
  10. Alice's Evidence

The following two chapters did not appear in the comic book:

  • The Mock Turtle's Story (although a scene with the Dutchess moved to chapter VIII)
  • The Lobster-Quadrille

Additionally, Marvel Classics Comics did not incorporate material from the 1872 sequel, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. Nevertheless, Defenders #131 drew inspiration from a poem within that novel by introducing a supervillain called the Walrus and a scientist with the surname Carpenter.

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