The fate of Susan, of The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe has presented CS Lewis‘ fans with a bit of a dilemma in the way she is dismissed as a character, no longer returning to Narnia because she is interested in lipstick and boys, denies her previous experience with them and is kept from staying with them in Narnia after the train crash which kills their Earthly bodies.
“My sister Susan,” answered Peter shortly and gravely, “is no longer a friend of Narnia.”
“Yes,” said Eustace, “and whenever you’ve tried to get her to come and talk about Narnia or do anything about Narnia, she says ‘What wonderful memories you have! Fancy your still thinking about all those funny games we used to play when we were children.’”
“Oh Susan!” said Jill, “she’s interested in nothing now-a-days except nylons and lipstick and invitations. She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grown-up.”
“Grown-up, indeed,” said the Lady Polly. “I wish she would grow up. She wasted all her school time wanting to be the age she is now, and she’ll waste all the rest of her life trying to stay that age. Her whole idea is to race on to the silliest time of one’s life as quick as she can and then stop there as long as she can.”
JK Rowling said
“There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She’s become irreligious basically because she found sex. I have a big problem with that.”
Philip Pullman once said,
I just don’t like the conclusions Lewis comes to, after all that analysis, the way he shuts children out from heaven, or whatever it is, on the grounds that the one girl is interested in boys. She’s a teenager! Ah, it’s terrible: Sex—can’t have that.
In 2004, Neil Gaiman wrote a short story, The Problem Of Susan. It begins…
She has the dream again that night.
In the dream, she is standing, with her brothers and her sister, on the edge of the battlefield. It is summer, and the grass is a peculiarly vivid shade of green: a wholesome green, like a cricket pitch or the welcoming slope of the South Downs as you make your way north from the coast. There are bodies on the grass. None of the bodies are human; she can see a centaur, its throat slit, on the grass near her. The horse half of it is a vivid chestnut. Its human skin is nut-brown from the sun. She finds herself staring at the horse’s penis, wondering about centaurs mating, imagines being kissed by that bearded face. Her eyes flick to the cut throat, and the sticky red-black pool that surrounds it, and she shivers.
Fifteen years later it is getting a comic book adaptation from P Craig Russell, who write the script and layouts several years ago and, well, has just been very busy. He is joined by Scott Hampton, Paul Chadwick and Lovern Kindzierski in adapting a number of short stories by Neil for comics, and published by Dark Horse.
From Hugo, Eisner, Newbery, Harvey, Bram Stoker, Locus, World Fantasy, and Nebula award-winning author Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell (The Sandman, The Giver), Scott Hampton (American Gods), and Paul Chadwick (Concrete) comes a graphic novel adaptations of the short stories and poems : The Problem of Susan, October in the Chair, Locks, and The Day the Saucers Came.
Two stories and two poems. All wondrous and imaginative about the tales we tell and experience. Where the incarnations of the months of the year sit around a campfire sharing stories, where an older college professor recounts a Narnian childhood, where the apocalypse unfolds, and where the importance of generational storytelling is seen through the Goldilocks fairytale. These four comic adaptations have something for everyone and are a must for Gaiman fans!
Look for it in February 2019.