Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wool The Graphic Novel Omnibus by Hugh Howey

Book Review by:
Sharon Powers.

    Hugh Howey's journey began quietly enough when he decided to self-publish his thriller/post apocalyptic serial novel on Amazon in 2011. Originally, Howey published Wool as a serial publication consisting of five parts. Howey was unprepared for the huge success he would meet as his novel became one of Amazon's leading sellers and made over a million dollars. [Nerdist, Dan Casey, June 4, 2014.] [2]

This is the full novel (an omnibus), with
all five parts collected into one edition.
The novel is sold in hardcover, paper-
back, unabridged (Audible) audio edi-
tion, or as an audiobook. Wool Omnibus
Edition (Wool 1-5) 
Silo Series
     According to Casey, it was not long before Howey's successful book attracted attention from mainstream publishers looking to capitalize on the already successful book, apparently, to parlay it into a huge draw (similar to The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins). Howey surprised everyone by not giving in to tempting offers that would see his book rights disappear--Howey finally garnered a deal where he was paid well, but one which allowed him to keep the book rights (e-book). [2]

     One of the most exciting new developments for Hugh Howey is that he has, according to Rachel Deahl of Publisher's Weekly, sold the film rights for Wool to 20th Century Fox; Director Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian are two who have "expressed interest in the film adaptation" as well as Lionsgate Films. [3]

     Publishers and promoters have kept the synopsis of the graphic novel short. Whether the brevity is because the novel has been distilled down to its essence, or whether it is because theirs is a desire to keep the plot secret really doesn't matter. It is short. So...let's get to it!

Wool (Part One) Silo
Series Book 1
   This "contemporary dystopian" story is one of the struggle of man to eke out a kind of existence in the harsh remnants of a destroyed society. Man lives on the fringes of existence while the world they once knew has grown harsh and for the most part, unlivable. Man has retreated to underground silos to live, and survivors fear to even speak of the outside world because to even speak of it is forbidden.

Wool (Part Two) Silo
Series Book 2
     Throughout history, in societies of oppression, hope springs up in the form of rebellious men and women preaching optimism in the face of societal oppression. So it does in Howey's novel, Wool. But against what are these unlikely rebels rebelling? When they are caught, they are given a way out...that is, a way out of the silos. Out into the unbreathable air of the outside. A way out of life. [1]

Wool (Part Three) Silo
Series Book 3
     Book Description:
          First, the official title:  Wool: The Graphic Novel: The Silo Saga Omnibus by Hugh Howey; Script by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti.
     Book Length: 160 Pages
     Publisher: Jet City Comics (August 12, 2014)
     Language: English
     ISBN-10: 1477849122
     ISBN-13: 978-1477849125
     Originally published in serial publications (1-5): The covers are shown in this section; now available for download as a complete book.
     Additional Included Information: Twenty pages of BONUS material (including the following: Jimmy Broxton's Sketchbook, Variant Covers by Darwyn Cooke, inked pages by Jimmy Broxton, and Bios).
Wool (Part Four) Silo
Series Book 4

     FirstThe very first thing I ask myself when I pick up a graphic novel is whether or not it actually is a graphic novel. How can I tell? Well I look to see whether or not the publication is episodic in nature (like comic books), or is the publication a story with a complete beginning, middle, and end? So, that's the first thing.

Wool (Part Five) Silo 

Series Book 5 (cover)[9]
    Here, Howey's graphic novel was originally published as a series (of 5). Since Howey had the intent to have a complete story arc (beginning, middle, end), and since Howey took the five parts and then published them as an omnibus, I conclude that the five parts are similar to chapters in a book, not episodic, like comics. Also, since movie makers desire to make the book into a movie, credence is lent to the idea that the story is a complete story arc.

This photo is one I took of my book,
Wool: The Graphic Novel. The pages
are securely bound to the cover.
     Second: I look at the pages, binding, and cover--What kind of cover does the book have, and how are the pages bound?

     The book I purchased is a physical book (not an e-book) with a cardstock cover, and the pages appear to be glued. I couldn't find any stitching, but the pages seem to be secure within the book, unlike the example I have for you, here, just below, left. (Hercules: The Thracian Wars by Steve Moore, Reviewed on this blog on 06-29-14.)

Hercules: The Thracian Wars by Steve Moore.  I reviewed this book on my
blog on 06-29-14, if you would like to see and read more about this book.
     Comic books are usually covered in the same pulp paper with which their pages are printed, and the pages are usually stapled. Poorly constructed graphic novels often have their pages fall out due to poor construction meth- ods or materials (the glue) used to bind the pages between the covers. This second step is critical because if your book falls apart, the book is ruined and your money wasted. I found that Hugh Howey's book, Wool, is well-constructed with good materials, the pages securely adhering to the binding.

Here is a graphic of the Kindle
 Edition from Amazon's website.[10]
  • NOTE: Some of these points do not apply to e-books or novels purchased as Amazon Kindle downloads. So, where the analysis doesn't fit, simply ignore that point and move on to other parts of the analysis. The Second analysis point, for example, does not apply to e-books.
     Three: Analysis point three is a quality question. What kind of paper is used for the book? Is the paper pulp paper, like comic books have, or heavier paper with glossy or semi-glossy pages? Generally, you will find that the cheaper the paper is used on comics, and the better, heavier, and glossier paper, is used on graphic novels. Even so, this MAY not always be true, as I have seen collections of comics in bound cardstock and hardbound covers, and a few graphic novels published on inexpensive paper. The point, here, is to look at all the points, together, before you decide.

     I found Howey's publication, Wool, covered with cardstock and very nice paper inside with a semi-glossy finish. The cover was done in a beautiful matte finish.

     Four: Does the publication have advertising? If so, how much and where is it located within the book? Advertising is invariably found in comic books, having as much as 10-12 pages of ads. Graphic novels, however, contain no advertising whatso- ever, or if it does, it is for the same publisher, or book in the same series--the point is that little or no ads are found in graphic novels.

     I found Hugh Howey's book, Wool, to contain absolutely NO advertisements on any pages. My conclusion on this point (only) is that it meets this point's criteria for a graphic novel.

     Five: It is important to know how many pages the publication contains. The reason you need to know this is that generally, graphic novels average about 100-150 pages. Also, you need to know that in the United States, the standard comic book is generally 22 pages plus another 10 pages for advertising. On the other hand, graphic novels are approximately three times the size of a comic book, at around 100 pages. I have many graphic novels that have over 150 pages.

     Hugh Howey's book, Wool, is 160 pages, so it easily meets requirement five for a graphic novel. It is really nice to see this many pages in any graphic novel.

     Six: Following up on number five, determine whether or not the publisher is a U.S. publisher. European publishers have different standards, practices and traditions. The reason you should know this fact is that with the internet and international publishing, you may find some publications that follow non-U.S. publishing practices. For example, the publication may be of a different size.

     Wool is a standard size publication, and looking at the publisher: Jet City Comics, we find out that they are located in Mill Creek, WA. That makes them a U.S. publisher that will follow the standards, practices and traditions of U..S. publishers.

This is from the Amazon website, showing the title for Wool being
listed as a "GRAPHIC NOVEL." This is just one way to demonstrate
that a novel is a graphic novel. [1]
     Seven: Is the book advertised as a graphic novel? Is the book labeled as a "graphic novel"? This point addresses the intent of the publisher and/or author. It is important to know what they think. This is especially important when the line between comic and graphic novel may be crossed or may be somewhat blurred. It is NOT dispositive, however, just a good indicator of what's intended.

The front of my book. A photo showing
the author/publisher intended to list
the book as a graphic novel.
     Wool's title clearly indicates it is a graphic novel, as does the cover. Moreover, it is advertised as a graphic novel and sold as such. Ergo. The author and publishers intend that the book be conceived of as a graphic novel.

     Eight: The final point is one of quality and appearance. Is the cover and art well done and appealing? What is your overall impression of the publication?

A photo of the cover
of my book--again:
earthtones, muted
colors and blacks.
     Wool's cover art is quintessential to the story with the cardstock a beautiful matte finish done in earth tones and a sober pallette. The color pallette continues on to the inside with some story themes receiving warm earth tones including sunset colors, golds and warm browns, while some themes receive a much cooler treatment with toned-down greens and even blues. A very few pages are done in black and white (you'll see why when you read the graphic novel).
The pallette for the book consists of earth tones. Here, the
color scheme are cool colors with greens and blues and
somber blacks and grays.

         The overall impre- ssion is that the quality and appearance of the publication is both sturdy and appealing, leaving a wonderful sense of a quality product.

     Optional Point: If the graphic novel is one in which the graphic novel was created as a follow up publication to an original novel (or series), is the adaptation faithful (enough) to make you feel satisfied that justice was done to the story? This point is optional because not every graphic novel has been adapted from a novel (or series). Also, the point is moot if the reader has only read the graphic novel and not the novel(s). 

     I have found that adaptations are very interesting, sometimes successful, sometimes, not. Wool is mostly successful. While there are some things that have been changed from the original omnibus story (the ending is one of them), mostly I find Wool, successful as an adaptation to a graphic novel. I have really endeavored to not give away spoilers to the book, so I can't be too specific as to what I found changed that I didn't care for. general, I liked the book as an adaptation.

     This book is a contemporary post-apocalyptic thriller. If you are OK with your teens reading it, I wouldn't think it is any worse than other, similar, stories out there today. Adults and teens normally reading this subject matter should know what to expect--and enjoy.

     For all of the above reasons, I rate this book 4.0 stars out of 5.0 stars. While it is a very good book, it is not Wool, the novel, it is Wool, the graphic novel. While being very good, it just can't rise to the same level as the novel. It is, however, a very good adaptation of the novel, Wool. For those reasons, I have awarded 4 instead of 5 stars. 

     Thank you for taking the time to read my review of this book and consider the ideas and opinions I have presented to you as food for thought. If you would like to read more about graphic novels please go to my website at Sharon's Love of Books. Meanwhile, this week, pick up something good to read and have some fun. Happy New Year's Day to you all. 

Until next time...
This flower is a double white Rose of Sharon. [15]
...many happy pages of reading.

All my love, 


[1] "Wool: The Graphic Novel (The Silo Saga)." Retrieved 12-30-14.
[2] "Author Hugh Howey on Turning His Self-Published Hit Wool Into a Graphic Novel." [Nerdist, Dan Casey, 06-04-14] Retrieved 12-30-14.
[3] "20th Century Fox Spins 'Wool' For Scott Free And Film Rites." [Mike Fleming; Deadline] Retrieved 12-31-14.
[4] "Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1-5) Silo Series." Retrieved 12-30-14.
[5] "Wool (Part One) Silo Series Book 1." Retrieved 12-31-14.
[6] "Wool (Part Two) Silo Series Book 2." Retrieved 12-31-14.
[7] "Wool (Part Three) Silo Series Book 3." Retrieved 12-31-14.
[8] "Wool (Part Four) Silo Series Book 4." Retrieved 12-31-14.
[9] "Wool (Part Five) Silo Series Book 5." Retrieved 12-31-14.
[10] "Wool--Kindle Edition." Retrieved 12-31-14.
[11] "Advertising." Retrieved 12-31-14.
[12] "Comic Book Advertising f101: Lesson 1." Retrieved 12-31-14.
[13] "Chatroom Spoiler Free...." Retrieved 12-31-14.
[14] "(RI) 1 Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey Review." Retrieved 12-31-14.
[15] "Pictures From My Garden." Retrieved 12-31-14.