From 'Locke & Key' to 'Sandman' — What's the point of an audio graphic novel?

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I just finished reading Locke & Key a short while ago, and yes that series is awesome story telling.

I read it through the Hoopla app which has a ton of great comics and is free through many local library systems.

The only downside being, at least for our library, there is a limit of 10 items a month. Thus you blow through a bunch of multi-issue volumes and get stuck waiting for the end of the month to pick up where you left off . Totally worth it though…

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While the dialogue and narration from the comic remained intact, this Audible adaptation addressed the change from a visual medium by having Neil Gaiman write and narrate some new descriptions the visuals that would otherwise be rendered in the comic.

Most of Gaiman’s narration isn’t new, it’s from his original scripts, describing what he wanted the artists to draw.

As a result, the Sandman Audible adaptation felt less like an adaptation and more of an accessible version of the story with audio descriptions for people with low vision.

To be clear: I applaud any such effort to be inclusive of people with different disabilities so that we all might enjoy the same stories. But I’m fairly certain that was the original intention of this adaptation. Which made me question: what was the point, exactly?

I assume there’s a typo there and you meant to say “I’m fairly certain that wasn’t the original intention of this adaptation”?

But per the link above, yes, that was his primary intention, to present Sandman as close to the original as possible for people who aren’t able to experience it as a comic. So hopefully that explains why that was your takeaway – because that really was what they were going for. (The upcoming TV series is going to be a looser adaptation, with some changes and modernizations.)

I haven’t heard the audio version of Locke and Key but it’s a great damn comic. (The Netflix series is good too – and talking of loose adaptations, tones everything down to a kid-friendly PG-13 in the vein of Stranger Things.)

Thanks for your words on comic book artists. I see entirely too many articles about comics that give artists short shrift and writers sole credit, especially in the case of a superstar writer like Neil Gaiman. (Even the trailer for Audible’s Sandman adaptation uses Dave McKean’s art but doesn’t credit him for it.)


There’s a company that does great audio adaptations of comics, and books called Graphic Audio. The have dozens of DC and Marvel Adaptations they’ve done that are perfect for road trips and stuff like that. They did lose their license of them so they’ve been removed from direct download from their site but you can still buy them through Audible.

The Graveyard Book and Neverwhere were both enjoyable as audiobooks. I listened to the full cast version of The Graveyard Book and the author read version of Neverwhere.

Thanks for this! I didn’t see any mention of the accessibility issues in any of the promotional material before the release. I’m sorry I missed this particularly blogpost (though I still wish that detail had been brought up beforehand).

I didn’t want to assume that the narration came from his original scripts, but that was the vibe I got while listening. It’s intriguing to me, as a writer who’s done a few comics — I like hearing how other people collaborate! But it’s a curious aesthetic choice for something like this, deliberately “collaborating” in that way with the reader’s brain in the exact same way you did with an artist.

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