Children's Adaptation by Kate McMullan
from Bullseye Chiller Series by Random House, 1989
At night, people came to look at me. My little yellow eyes gleamed in the dark. I took off my mask. People screamed and ran from my tent! But they bought more tickets. They came back to look again... For the first time in my life, I felt at peace. I had found others like myself. The Living-Dead Boy was where he belonged... I began to like my power to frighten... No one loved Erik. No one... My beautiful voice gave me peace.|
My heart had been full of hate. I was a monster.... Now a change took place inside me. All I could think of was giving real happiness to Christine.
I knew then that I was dying. Dying of love.... Here in my home under the Paris Opera House, I shall die. Erik, the Living-Dead Boy. Erik, the Living Skeleton. Erik - the Phantom of the Opera.
While this adaptation is an excellent way to introduce children to the original story, it is also a must-have for the library of any Erik phan. McMullan remains incredibly loyal to the original story of the Phantom. She even remembers Erik's years in Turkey - something Susan Kay herself forgets to do - as the story of his entire life is narrated from the perspective of none other than Erik himself!
The black and white illustrations which accompany the story are by Paul Jennis. While not as lavish and detailed as the beautiful, colorful artwork by Greg Hildebrandt, there are numerous unique illustrations here that you can't find just anywhere. Examples include Erik as a child, various scenes during Erik's years in the Middle East, and a view of Erik as Angel of Music from behind Christine's dressing room mirror (ie - from Erik's point of view).
While not an extravagant re-telling especially when compared to certain Broadway musical adaptations, it remains one of my favorites. It does not have Susan Kay's lavish romantic style. The mystery/horror approach of Leroux is obviously missing. Instead, her portrayal of Erik is oftentimes one of an almost childlike innocence that actually brought a tear to my eye when I first read it years ago.
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