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Criminal mastermind Artemis goes graphic

THE first book in Eoin Colfer's mega-selling 'Artemis Fowl' series of books for children has been turned into a graphic novel.

The move is likely to mean a huge boost in international sales to teenage readers.

Described as "Die Hard with fairies" and "Hans Christian Andersen meets Miami Vice", the 'Artemis Fowl' stories are set in a hard-boiled fantasy world of fairies and demons and feature a teenage criminal mastermind called Artemis.

They are perfect for conversion into the graphic novel format, a highly lucrative and fast-growing section of the book market for today's teens.

Graphic novels are full-length books in comic format and the best are noted for their superb artwork.

The 'Artemis Fowl' world is one where fairies say things like "lock and load" and monsters, fairies, myths and magic are mixed with high-grade weaponry and the latest technology in a mad cops-and-robbers thriller format. Colfer himself says what he did was bring 'James Bond', 'Men in Black' and 'Star Wars' into the fairy world.

The series has been a huge hit internationally, with sales in the UK and Ireland of around two million copies and total sales worldwide now approaching eight million. They are published in over 40 countries. Colfer, a former teacher from Wexford, now lives in the south of France.

Graphic novels of all types, including Japanese-style 'manga', are tremendously popular with young readers. Last year, some of Shakespeare's plays appeared in graphic novel format in the UK and were a big hit. Colfer is a lifelong graphic novel buff and it has long been his ambition to bring his uber-popular creation to life in this format. 'Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel', has been adapted by Colfer himself and graphic novel writer Andrew Donkin, whose CV includes work on 'Batman' for DC Comics.

The artwork is by one of the world's top graphic novel artists, Giovannie Rigano. The book is being published by Puffin in Ireland and the UK on October 4.

Advance publicity for the book invites fans to "go back to the beginning and uncover the secrets behind the boy who has been both scourge and saviour of the Lower Elements in this visually stunning graphic novel".

It reminds readers that the young Artemis Fowl is a criminal genius, the mastermind behind some of the most devious crimes of the 21st century.

But his time, it's gold he's after, and he's plotting to kidnap a fairy to get it. However, even Artemis hasn't reckoned on quite this type of fairy - armed, dangerous, and technologically advanced. Paranoid centaurs, flatulent dwarves and the LEPrecon unit, complete with mind-boggling gadgetry, are all ready and waiting for Artemis and are stunningly realised in the graphic novel format.

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Since Artemis Fowl made his first appearance several books ago in 2000, he has gone on to make his creator, Colfer, a millionaire several times over. Miramax and Tribeca Productions hold the film rights.


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