Don’t Split Hairs Over Industry-Specific Terminology

Millennium: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

I was confused when I saw a press release from Titan Comics about continuing their Hard Case Crime comics line with three new titles. One of them was described as the following:

Presenting a new vision of the worldwide bestselling Millennium novels by Stieg Larsson, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is the first comic book adaptation of Lisbeth Salander’s harrowing story ever to appear in English.

Wait a minute! DC Comics put out an official graphic novel adaptation in two volumes in 2012 and 2013. They were written by Denise Mina with art by Leonardo Manco and Andrea Mutti.

The Titan Comics version is written by Sylvain Runberg and illustrated by José Homs and Man, with an all-new translation by Rachel Zerner. It’s due out June 28. I emailed their press contact with my question, who got back to me quickly with the clarification that when they said “comic book adaptation”, they meant this would be in serialized comic book issues for the first time.

That’s a specification that may make sense to those steeped in the industry, but I suspect the new or casual reader who may be attracted to an adaptation of a popular mystery series won’t find the distinction significant. They probably don’t know about the previous version, though. On the other hand, retailers may want to be reminded, for a point of comparative sales history. It’s hard to judge how to order a comic book version of a decade-old novel.

I know it’s important for PR to find something to claim is first or new or different, but I worry about teaching customers to parse super-closely to avoid feeling confused or misled.

Millennium: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo cover by José Homs

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