A new deluxe edition of the worldwide bestseller “The Hunger Games,” the first novel of the dystopian Young Adult series set in the land of Panem by author Suzanne Collins, will feature an original collection of artwork.

Scholastic announced that “The Hunger Games Illustrated Edition” would be published on October 1. The book will feature more than 30 black-and-white drawings from Nico Delort, an internationally acclaimed artist based in Paris.

“The Hunger Games” has enthralled millions of readers in its examination of the cost of war, human nature, and the powerful forces of both love and resistance. The YA book was an instant bestseller upon its release in 2008, appealing to both teen readers and adults. Even Stephen King called the violent coming-of-age story “addictive.”

“Certain illustrations made an indelible impression on me growing up, and the images are forever linked to books I love, including John Tenniel’s classic drawings for ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and Fritz Eichenberg’s wood engravings for ‘Wuthering Heights.’ I’m thrilled with Nico Delort’s striking black-and-white scratchboard artwork for ‘The Hunger Games’ and feel it will have the same lasting influence on a new generation of Panem readers,” said Suzanne Collins.

Delort has worked as a freelance artist for 15 years, creating illustrations for books, magazines, movie posters, and galleries. Delort’s black-and-white scratchboard illustrations gained recognition and popularity for their elaborate compositions, dramatic lighting, and intricate detail. The artwork will focus on imagining scenes described in the novel, not its motion picture adaptation.

“The Hunger Games” is set in a future society known as Panem, where the Capitol – a wealthy and powerful city – controls twelve impoverished Districts. As punishment for a past rebellion, the Capitol forces each District to send one boy and one girl, known as “tributes,” to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a televised fight-to-the-death gameshow competition.

The story follows Katniss Everdeen, a resourceful girl from District 12, who volunteers to take her younger sister’s place as a tribute. Katniss must navigate the deadly arena, form alliances, and ultimately challenge the Capitol’s authority while fighting for her life – and the survival of her District.

The question of whether “The Hunger Games” book series ripped off the Japanese movie “Battle Royale” has been a topic of debate among fans and scholars since it was first published.

“I’m a big fan of the Japanese movie ‘Battle Royale,’ which is what ‘Hunger Games’ was based on,” said film director Quentin Tarantino. “Well, ‘Hunger Games’ just ripped it off. That would have been awesome to have directed ‘Battle Royale.'”

Released in 2000, “Battle Royale” was directed by Kinji Fukasaku and based on Koushun Takami’s 1999 novel. The Japanese film is set in a dystopian future where the government forces a randomly selected class of high school students to participate in a deadly game on a deserted island.

Equipped with various weapons, each student must eliminate their classmates until only one survivor remains. The movie explored themes of societal control, youth rebellion, and the consequences of violence, all within a harrowing and intense narrative that challenged the characters’ morality.

“Battle Royale” is known for its graphic violence and provocative social commentary, making it a cult classic in the world of Japanese cinema.

While there are similar themes between the two works, they do have distinct differences in terms of plot, characters, and setting. And even though “The Hunger Games” was published in 2008, the idea of teenagers being pitted against each other in a life-or-death game pre-dates both books.

King’s dystopian novel “The Long Walk,” written under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, was first published in 1979. The story is set in a future America where an annual event called “The Long Walk” takes place. The event forced 100 teenage boys to participate in a grueling and deadly walking contest until only one of them remained, who was declared the winner.

Collins has maintained over the years that “Battle Royale” had no connection to her story. “I had never heard of that book or that author until my book was turned in.”

Some argue that the similarities between the two works are coincidental and that they both draw on the broader concept of dystopian societies and the use of televised violence for entertainment. Others believe that “The Hunger Games” may have been influenced by “Battle Royale” to some extent.

“Those of us who have been enthralled by the world of ‘The Hunger Games’ for the past fifteen years will have a new reason to be spellbound, as this new illustrated edition gives us both a reason to reread the novel – which continues to resonate – and a chance to see it with new eyes, through the extraordinary vision of Nico Delort,” said David Levithan, Publisher and Editorial Director for Scholastic.

The four other ‘Hunger Games’ books by Collins, which include “Catching Fire,” “Mockingjay” and the prequel “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. They are the basis for a blockbuster movie franchise that helped make Jennifer Lawrence a superstar for her role as the heroine Katniss Everdeen.

MI Staff

NEW YORK, New York

Nico Delort / Scholastic (via AP)