Tag: adaptations

Author of True Grit Dies at 86

Sadly, Charles Portis, the author of the famous western novel True Grit, has passed away due to Alzheimers. The author passed away in a hospice in Little Rock Arkansas this past Monday.


 image via Abebooks

Portis was born in 1933 and as a kid spent a lot of his time reading comics and watching movies. While he was in the Marines he found opportunities to read and write in his own time. He then pursued a formal education and graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1958. He majored in journalism and later worked for the Memphis Commercial Appeal and the New York Herald Tribune as the London Bureau chief. While he worked for the newspaper he interviewed Malcolm X and author J.D. Salinger.


 image via amazon


Other than Norwoodwhich was made into a TV movie starring Glen Campbell and Joe Namath in the 70s, True Grit was his most famous work. It was first published in the Saturday Evening Post in 1968. Then it was adapted into a movie in 1969 starring John Wayne. After that adaptation, another film was made in 2010 starring Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin in lead roles. The film grossed $171 million in North America and received ten Oscar nominations.


image via amazon

Charles Portis led a quiet life considering his fame. He did win an award called the Oxford American’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Southern Literature. The last novel Portis published was Gringos in 1991. It was his fifth novel. Although that was his last long work of literature, Portis did go on to write short stories for The Atlantic in the 90s.


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A Diversity How To

Barnes & Nobel was caught in a controversy about a week ago. To try and honor Black History Month, the company commissioned artists to redesign classic novel covers, like The Wizard of Oz, Frankenstein, The Secret Garden, Peter Pan etc. The company was quick to dole out apologies but the damage was done. They canceled the release of the covers and we are left with the mountains of tweets of people and authors of color trying make sense of what they did. Authors like Roxane Gay, Angie Thomas, David Bowles added to the conversation.


Image via The New York Times


All of this brings up ideas of diversity. How to do it successfully and how not to. An even bigger example than the Barnes & Nobel’s catastrophe is M. Night Shyamalan’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. I know what you are thinking, this movie, based on the very popular show and graphic novel series, literally came out ten years ago, why does it matter? One, because it deals with the subject of diversity and is a prime example of how not to do it but also because I want to gush about the original series because it was just that good. Good? Good.

So the adaptation of the Nickelodeon series was highly anticipated but it was helmed by Shyamalan, who has always had an interesting career and let’s leave it at that. Most fans and non-fans alike can agree that the movie was horrible for many many reasons. But I will be focusing on the story elements and characters, not the film making itself.

If you don’t know the original series, Avatar: The Last Airbender was about a young kid named Aang who is the Avatar, an individual who can wield all four elements. He’s the last air nomad because of a huge war the Fire Nation who started to wipe out all of the other benders and take over the world. Aang travels with Katara and Saka, a brother and sister duo from the southern water tribe. As Katara and Saka are brown skinned and the people from both the southern and northern water tribes are vaguely what we would consider native american today. They are brown, remember that for later. See below for reference.


Image via Variety 


Throughout the show, the three travel to different parts of the world so that Aang can master the other elements, water, earth, and fire. Opposing Aang are the fire nation. Leading the expedition for his capture are Zuko, the prince of the fire nation, his uncle, and eventually his sister Azula. The show is very diverse but it is clearly shown that the fire nation characters look Japanese. See below for reference (Zuko and his father, the Fire Lord).


Image via Avatar Wiki-Fandom

I don’t know who was behind the casting of the movie but that was one of my biggest problems with it. Aang was fine, he looked vaguely asian in the show and they cast a light skinned actor to play him. But they cast white actors to play Katara and Sokka and Indian and dark skinned actors for Zuko, Iroh, and basically the entire fire nation.  Do you see what I am getting at?

The villains of the show, that were light skinned, were turned dark while the heroes lost all of their color. They switched the races of the characters just like Barnes and Noble did. Changing the skin color of a character isn’t adding diversity. You are just making them diverse to be palatable to people of color.

The movie doubles down on the stereotype of making the brown or black characters evil while the light skinned folks are the heroes that stopped the terrible villains. The Fire Nation and it’s leader Fire Lord Ozai, did horrible things to the rest of the world. They wiped out every air bender, except for Aang, and tried to do the same to the water benders, putting earth benders into slavery. All of a sudden the dark skinned Indian people are doing all of this? It’s reaffirming the notion that people of color are to be feared and the light skinned characters get to run in and save the day.

The water tribes were a peaceful, seafaring people who left everyone alone because they were literally on opposite ends of the earth. They did nothing to the fire tribe except exist, yet the fire tribe attacked, which not-so-subtly refers to how Europeans traveled over the world and conquered folks of color.



While watching the movie, I was stunned. I first asked “Did no one watch the show?” Because watching the movie it seemed like someone had just given the director and the writers spark notes and they were good to go. My second question was “How does Shyamalan, as a person of color, feel about this?” There were, of course, many interviews during the press tour for the movie but one of the most famous was one in which he essentially stated that American audiences don’t get him and how he and his films have a European aspect.

Out of all the articles and his defense of the film, he doesn’t go into this side of things. How he doesn’t see the implications of the race switching confuses me. Wouldn’t he want to see dark skinned folks being the heroes in a huge fantasy setting? Or maybe he just saw an opportunity to make money and called it a day. Obviously, I don’t know that for sure, but the movie felt hallow, like they gave it to whoever wanted it.

When an artist, or musician or film maker is passionate about their project you can feel it. It’s hard to ignore when someone spends so much time on a project and they pour their heart and soul into it, it’s infectious. You feel it and even if it turns out bad you know that they put the work in and that they didn’t just take some company’s money and make a thing. It’s honestly baffling.


Image  Via The Brag

Barnes & Nobles gate shows they had some good intentions and Shyamalan wasn’t trying to be offensive but where were the other people of color on their teams? Did Barnes & Nobles even have any? Big decisions for a company are overseen by at least a couple of teams of people like design, marketing, research, someone must have thought this wasn’t the right move. Instead of promoting black authors or other POCs for Black History month you just re-brand old classics and not change anything about them? What does making Dorothy black do? What does making the monster from Frankenstein black do? What does making Peter Pan black do?


Image via The Guardian       



Image via The Guardian


Image via Business Insider


It’s an empty attempt at diversity and I’m glad they canceled the launch of the redesigns. A lot of these older books are notably racist as well and making the main character a person of color devalues the privilege they originally had to successfully end with an happily ever after. I hope they try this again because it’s a good idea. But they should do redesigns of classic works by black authors and asian authors etc. If they truly believe in diversity and champion for literature from everywhere and from everyone, they should try again, maybe in a couple of years though.


Image via Built In


So, in honor of these mistakes our fabulous graphic team have redesigned a couple of covers for you to enjoy. They are people of color representing what the true meaning of the book is.











Images via Bookstr




Images via Bookstr


Image via Bookstr


Follow our Instagram for more beautiful pieces of art and fun bookish posts.




Featured image via Mic


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“Daisy Jones and the Six” Has a Billy Dunne

Amazon and Hello Sunshine, Reese Witherspoons production company, have cast Sam Claflin as Billy Dunne for the Daisy Jones and the Six limited series. Billy Dunne is the lead singer in the band opposite Daisy, and during the course of the novel he struggles with his marriage, his addiction, and his feelings for Daisy.


The novel chronicles the lives of a fictional 1970s band. Each member of the band have their own lives and stories to tell, but the main focus of the novel is the personal lives of Billy and Daisy, and their relationship with each other. Billy is married with a family, and struggles with the balance of being a family man and being in a band. It’s even harder as his feelings for Daisy grow and both of them do their best to fight these feelings and put the band first.

Image via Amazon

Claflin isn’t new to the book to screen world, he also portrayed Finnick Odair in the Hunger Games movies. He was also in the book to screen adaptation of romance novel, Me, Before You. Claflin portrayed Will Trainor, a paraplegic, who falls in love with his nurse. He also has a few upcoming projects this year, including one for Netflix titled, Love. Wedding. Repeat. Actress and model Riley Keough will be portraying Daisy, and Will Graham will be show runner and executive producer,  alongside Reese Witherspoon. Taylor Jenkins Reid, the author, will also serve as producer of the series. Reid’s other novel, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, is becoming a series as well and is being developed by Fox 21 studios for Freeform.

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Featured image via Hello Magazine

We Share Books, Pants and Books About Pants!

Today is Make a Friend Day and what better way to make a friend then to share a story about best friends who can wear the same pants. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books were written by Ann Brashares and the adaptions of the books to big screen were released in 2005 and 2008 respectively for both films.


Image via Sherman Ave

I first came across this story from the movies and I instantly liked them. There are kind of a guilty pleasure of mine, they’re fun, sweet and perfect for a lazy day in. The idea is cool as well, how a single pair of jeans can fit four friends and helps keep them together as they grow and change. But the one constant is the jeans; it reminds Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget that their friendship is worth fighting for. That no matter where they end up, be it Greece, digging up lost civilizations, college, they’ll always be connected.



So go out there and make a new friend. It can be very awkward at first but share your thoughts, goals, pants-maybe not pants yet but you’ll get there. Whether at work or a club, a gym, a bookstore, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is sure to be a conversation starter.


Image via Hollywood Reporter


Featured Image via Keeping it Reel


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Celebrate Umbrella Day at the Academy!

Today is Umbrella day so we obviously have to talk about The Umbrella Academy. The Umbrella Academy was originally a graphic novel series written by Gerard freaking Way as you all know by now, hopefully.  Am I the only one who thinks it will take forever for season two? I honestly can’t be held accountable for what I do while I wait.


Image via Buzzfeed

The first season was incredible. It put the graphic novels on my radar and the fact that the ICON himself was behind it, was a sign that this was a gold mine for Netflix and for my heart. And for my Funko collection. I don’t have a problem, I promise. All of the characters, especially the Hargreeves siblings were so interesting.


Image via Film Daily

We have Luther, Number 1 AKA Spaceboy, who is incredibly strong and has the body of a large gorilla thanks to blood from their butler and companion Pogo to save his life.

Diego, Number 2 AKA The Kraken, who is skilled with knives and can hold his breath pretty much forever.

Allison, Number 3 AKA The Rumor, who can tell simply tell a lie by saying “I heard a rumor…” And alters reality making whatever she said be actually true.

Klaus, Number 4 AKA The Séance. Klaus is easily a fan favorite with the ability to communicate with the dead and even God on occasion.



The Boy, Number 5 AKA Travel Boy. Five is the oldest yet youngest of the siblings. He has the power of teleportation and time travel. Five got stuck in the future and stayed there for forty five years. He finally  figured out to come back to his time to get his siblings to together to stop the apocalypse.

Ben, Number 6 AKA The Horror. He has the power to unleash monsters from another dimension through his skin. Talk about power! The show starts with him being dead and he hangs around Klaus as a ghost because he’s the only one who can hear him.

Vanya, Number 7 AKA The White Violin. Vanya is the most powerful of her siblings without even knowing it. When she was younger, Reginald Hargreeves, the man who took them all in, had Allison convince Vanya that she didn’t have any powers because she was too powerful, even at a young age. For most of her life she was an outcast but when her power awoke she destroyed the world. She is able to change sound into energy with her violin.



Since the ending of the first season I was filled with questions. Would they follow the next graphic novel exactly, if not how will they adapt it? Where in time did Number Five jump his siblings and why did they become younger before they vanished? Does this mean that we’ ll see more of the Hargreeves siblings from their childhood; training and going on missions? My biggest question is what happened to Ben? He’s undoubtedly the best of the crew and there is still so much mystery around his passing in the show and the graphic novels. But it’s suspected that Luther made a bad call during a mission and what ever that decision was resulted in Ben’s death. Also where did Hazel and his cute girlfriend go because I could watch them all day.


Image via Small Screen


Featured Image via Oracle Globe


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