EXCLUSIVE: The Handmaid’s Tale was published by Random House in 1985 with its near-future tale of one woman resisting the smothering tyrannies of the grim Republic of Gilead and, fittingly, the rebel tale has defied the limitations of any medium. Margaret Atwood’s novel has been adapted as a 1990 feature film (starring Natasha Richardson and Faye Dunaway, with screenplay by Harold Pinter); a BBC radio drama in 2000; a well-regarded Danish opera, also in 2000; at least three stage play versions (four if you count the Kennedy Center parody musical from last year); and, of course, the Emmy-winning Hulu show starring Elisabeth Moss, which returns June 5th with its third season.
Make room for one more: On March 26th, Doubleday Books releases the first graphic novel adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale and below you can take a first peek inside the illustrated epic. Deadline’s exclusive excerpt is the first preview anywhere and it shows the spare, evocative artwork of Renée Nault, the Canadian artist hand-selected by Atwood to adapt her bookshelf classic.
Atwood is no stranger to comic books or graphic novels. In fact in 2016, the author scored the first No. 1 bestseller of her esteemed career with Angel Catbird (illustrated by Johnnie Christmas and Tamra Bonvillian).In a statement to Deadline, Atwood said the new iteration has captivating nuances especially for her as a creator who has attempted sequential artwork as storytelling approach.
“As someone who has drawn admittedly basic comics for decades, I’ve always enjoyed the form; and as someone who wrote a bunch of screenplays in the 70s, I understand some of the challenges. Each of these forms is able to do things that the others can’t, so it’s fascinating to see what other creative people come up with.”
Even more fascinating: Atwood herself will return to Gilead when Doubleday publishes The Testaments, the author’s prose sequel to the original novel, in September.