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SYFY WIRE The Handmaid's Tale

Exclusive: The Handmaid's Tale reimagines Offred in these graphic novel character designs

By Jacob Oller
At the Wall, concept art

The Handmaid’s Tale has been a modern phenomenon, with its prescient near-future dystopia being increasingly relatable for women while its Hulu adaptation shocks and wows with the best of the genre shows. So of course, a comic was next. Or at least, a graphic novel.

Artist Renée Nault adapts Margaret Atwood's chilling genre standby, which has led to the book breaking into the Top 20 top-selling graphic novels on Amazon in only the second day of its release. Now you can see how Nault brought the book to life with some of her character designs, which SYFY WIRE can exclusively debut.

Check them out:

The TV show already established quite a stark and unique aesthetic, so finding a balance between the book and the series was paramount. Otherwise, people could just watch Elisabeth Moss. But Nault’s designs came straight from the text, with thumbs-up administered by the author at every step.

“I'm a very ‘visual’ reader, so I have strong pictures in my head when I read,” Nault told SYFY WIRE. “I tried to get those down on paper as quickly and purely as I could manage, often reading the book and sketching at the same time, then later refining the sketches into more polished designs. Sometimes it's difficult to translate what you see in your head onto the page, but in this case it was very easy because Margaret's writing is so strong and vivid. I ran everything by Margaret to make sure my interpretations looked good to her too.”

Nault’s take on Offred, the Econowives, and the Holy Rollers are a bit like a warped Roald Dahl, with a stark but painterly quality very different in tone than the show, but still a version of the tale that should speak to fans.

The graphic novel is available now.