by Victoria Erica | staff writer
It’s almost unusual to find a manga adaptation of prime time television. While I have seen manga and anime adaptations of Western superheroes and other male-related sundries, when I saw the Gossip Girl manga at Barnes & Nobles, it caught me off guard. While the TV series is based off a series of teen novels by Cecily von Ziegesar, the manga adaptation is by Yen Press and illustrated by Baek Hye-Kyung. The Yen Press version exists in its own universe and has original stories apart from the novels and TV series.
For those of you who find prime time WB to be too foreign for your taste, Gossip Girl follows an ominous blogger that observes and reports all the glitz and drama of Manhattan’s upper crust. We never see the title character, but we do follow a foray of complex love polygons.
I do admit, I have to backtrack and find out who’s currently seeing who and for what nefarious revenge purpose. Once you get the gist of it, it’s fairly easy to follow. Perhaps my favorite is Vanessa because she’s not suckered into the drama – a film student soon to be some big shot’s ingénue – she confronts the misfits who cause all the drama without pity. She’s one to look for.
While it is typical teen drama, in retrospect, it is still an enjoyable graphic novel. If you enjoyed the sophisticated illustrations in INVU and Paradise Kiss, you’re in for a treat. I love how Baek Hye-Kyung draws the Upper East Side Elite. They are very much sleek and pleasant designs to look at. I find myself comparing the chapter title pages to a Vogue photo shoot designed by Ai Yazawa. The characters are drawn beautifully and echo more of a Korean manhwa aesthetic.
If you can keep up with stories about rich girl problems and love polygons, this is a good one to check out. While the main girls, Blair and Serena, have yet to show any likeable qualities, they’re very pretty to look at. Likewise, if you have never seen Gossip Girl, you can get into this adaptation fairly easily. I recommend this one to those who enjoy the more adult teen romances and sophisticated artwork.
On a somewhat related note, I hope there is an adaptation of the Gossip Girl: Psycho Killer novel where the main cast is in a slasher- killer situation. I can imagine both Serena and Blair going insane-yandare in a Higurashi kind of way. Adapt that, Yen Press!