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Cover to "Hark a Vagrant"

Comics: Gateway To Literature?

"The book is always better than the movie," or so the popular expression goes, but what about comic adaptations? No amount of pictures and dialog balloons can replace what the mind imagines while reading a novel, but adaptations can open a mind to trying a novel in the first place. In other cases, an author has created and populated a world so well that readers want to revisit it in as many forms as possible.

Below is a list of graphical adaptations of prose, including classical (The Bible, The Odyssey, Moby Dick, The Arabian Nights, Shakespeare, The Divine Comedy, all of The Graphic Canon), contemporary (Game of Thrones, Dark Tower, Beautiful Creatures, Blue Bloods, Twilight), and Kate Beaton's downright hilarious parodies of authors and historical figures (Hark! A Vagrant).

Whether these titles improve on their original sources is for you to decide.


The Odyssey by Homer
Amazon Says: With bold imagery and an ear tuned to the music of Homer’s epic poem, Gareth Hinds reinterprets the ancient classic as it’s never been told before. "Gareth Hinds b more...
Amazon Says: With bold imagery and an ear tuned to the music of Homer’s epic poem, Gareth Hinds reinterprets the ancient classic as it’s never been told before. "Gareth Hinds brings THE ODYSSEY to life in a masterful blend of art and storytelling. Vivid and exciting, this graphic novel is a worthy new interpretation of Homer’s epic." —Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series Fresh from his triumphs in the Trojan War, Odysseus, King of Ithaca, wants nothing more than to return home to his family. Instead, he offends the sea god, Poseidon, who dooms him to years of shipwreck and wandering. Battling man-eating monsters, violent storms, and the supernatural seductions of sirens and sorceresses, Odysseus will need all his strength and cunning—and a little help from Mount Olympus—to make his way home and seize his kingdom from the schemers who seek to wed his queen and usurp his throne. Award-winning graphic artist Gareth Hinds masterfully reinterprets a story of heroism, adventure, and high action that has been told and retold for more than 2,500 years—though never quite like this. less...
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Amazon Says: Dante's Divine Comedy: A Graphic Adaptation more...
Amazon Says: Dante's Divine Comedy: A Graphic Adaptation less...
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Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Amazon Says: A prequel to Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, The Infernal Devices is the story of Tessa Gray, a sixteen-year-old American girl traveling alone to Victorian Lond more...
Amazon Says: A prequel to Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, The Infernal Devices is the story of Tessa Gray, a sixteen-year-old American girl traveling alone to Victorian London who runs afoul of the city's sordid supernatural underworld. Rescued by the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, Tessa quickly finds herself caught up in an intrigue that may very well destroy her new friends - including the two enigmatic young men, Jem and Will, who have taken her under their wing... less...
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Blue Bloods: The Graphic Novel by Melissa de la Cruz
Amazon Says: For this elite group of teenagers, New York is all about parties, fashion...AND BLOOD. Schuyler Van Alen is a loner, and happy that way. But when she turns fifteen, her life more...
Amazon Says: For this elite group of teenagers, New York is all about parties, fashion...AND BLOOD. Schuyler Van Alen is a loner, and happy that way. But when she turns fifteen, her life dramatically changes. A mosaic of blue veins appears on her arms, and she begins to have memories of another time and place. When a classmate is found dead at a night club, the mystery deepens. Most surprising of all, Jack Force, the hottest boy in school, starts showing a sudden interest in her. Schuyler wants answers, but is she prepared to learn the truth...especially when she discovers her part in it? The sexy and secretive world of the Blue Bloods comes to life in this stunning graphic novel adaptation of Book One in Melissa de la Cruz's internationally best-selling series. less...
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Manga Shakespeare: Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Amazon Says: Praise for Manga Shakespeare ALA Best Book for Young Adults ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers   “Reluctant readers who appreciate manga and who would no more...
Amazon Says: Praise for Manga Shakespeare ALA Best Book for Young Adults ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers   “Reluctant readers who appreciate manga and who would not think of picking up the work of Shakespeare are sure to gravitate toward these titles. Even if the text puts them off, they will be drawn to the illustrations. These adaptations would make wonderful additions to any school or public library’s manga collection.” —VOYA   “Refreshingly clear, this adaptation is recommended for all libraries serving teens.” —Kirkus Reviews   “This fresh new way of looking at a classic will draw new readers to Shakespeare, hopefully to discover that his plays are really quite entertaining.” —YAbookscentral.com   Shakespeare’s most commonly studied plays, now the latest additions to the innovative Manga Shakespeare series   “Double double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble . . .” So say the eerie trio of witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, a story full of ghosts, witches, bloody ambition, and nonstop action. After Macbeth hears the witches’ prophecy that he will be king, he will stop at nothing to make it so. Vividly adapted using Shakespeare’s own words in the fast-paced and immediate style of manga, Macbeth is the perfect addition to the Manga Shakespeare series—ideal for students and manga fans alike. F&P level: Z less...
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Amazon Says: "Working has been a book, a radio drama, a Broadway musical, and now a gripping graphic novel. I can't speak for Studs, but I suspect he would have been tickled to see it adap more...
Amazon Says: "Working has been a book, a radio drama, a Broadway musical, and now a gripping graphic novel. I can't speak for Studs, but I suspect he would have been tickled to see it adapted by a former government file clerk and wage slave, who knows all about working." --Roger Ebert In the thirty-five years since Pulitzer Prize-winner Studs Terkel's Working was first published, it has captivated millions of readers with lyrical and heartbreaking accounts of how their fellow citizens earn a living. Widely regarded as a masterpiece of words, it is now adapted into comic book form by comics legend Harvey Pekar, the blue-collar antihero of his American Book Award-winning comics series American Splendor.In Studs Terkel's Working, Pekar offers a brilliant visual adaptation of Terkel's verbatim interviews, collaborating with both established comics veterans and some of the comic underground's brightest new talent. Here are riveting accounts of the lives of ordinary Americans--farmers, miners, barbers, hookers, box boys, stockbrokers--depicted with unsurpassed dignity and frankness. A visual treat with a visceral impact, Studs Terkel's Working will delight Terkel fans everywhere, and introduce his most powerful work to a new generation. less...
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Amazon Says: THE GRAPHIC CANON (Seven Stories Press) is a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind trilogy that brings classic literatures of the world together with legendary graphic artists and il more...
Amazon Says: THE GRAPHIC CANON (Seven Stories Press) is a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind trilogy that brings classic literatures of the world together with legendary graphic artists and illustrators. There are more than 130 illustrators represented and 190 literary works over three volumes—many newly commissioned, some hard to find—reinterpreted here for readers and collectors of all ages. Volume 1 takes us on a visual tour from the earliest literature through the end of the 1700s. Along the way, we're treated to eye-popping renditions of the human race's greatest epics: Gilgamesh, The Iliad, The Odyssey (in watercolors by Gareth Hinds), The Aeneid, Beowulf, and The Arabian Nights, plus later epics The Divine Comedy and The Canterbury Tales (both by legendary illustrator and graphic designer Seymour Chwast), Paradise Lost, and Le Morte D'Arthur. Two of ancient Greece's greatest plays are adapted—the tragedy Medea by Euripides and Tania Schrag’s uninhibited rendering of the very bawdy comedy Lysistrata by Aristophanes (the text of which is still censored in many textbooks). Also included is Robert Crumb’s rarely-seen adaptation of James Boswell’s London Journal, filled with philosophical debate and lowbrow debauchery. Religious literature is well-covered and well-illustrated, with the Books of Daniel and Esther from the Old Testament, Rick Geary’s awe-inspiring new rendition of the Book of Revelation from the New Testament, the Tao te Ching, Rumi’s Sufi poetry, Hinduism’s Mahabharata, and the Mayan holy book Popol Vuh, illustrated by Roberta Gregory. The Eastern canon gets its due, with The Tale of Genji (the world’s first novel, done in full-page illustrations reminiscent of Aubrey Beardsley), three poems from China’s golden age of literature lovingly drawn by pioneering underground comics artist Sharon Rudahl, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, a Japanese Noh play, and other works from Asia. Two of Shakespeare’s greatest plays (King Lear and A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and two of his sonnets are here, as are Plato’s Symposium, Gulliver’s Travels, Candide, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Renaissance poetry of love and desire, and Don Quixote visualized by the legendary Will Eisner. Some unexpected twists in this volume include a Native American folktale, an Incan play, Sappho’s poetic fragments, bawdy essays by Benjamin Franklin, the love letters of Abelard and Heloise, and the decadent French classic Dangerous Liaisons, as illustrated by Molly Crabapple.   Edited by Russ Kick, The Graphic Canon is an extraordinary collection that will continue with Volume 2: "Kubla Khan" to the Bronte Sisters to The Picture of Dorian Gray in Summer 2012, and Volume 3: From Heart of Darkness to Hemingway to Infinite Jest in Fall 2012. A boxed set of all three volumes will also be published in Fall 2012. less...
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Amazon Says: The Graphic Canon, Volume 2 gives us a visual cornucopia based on the wealth of literature from the 1800s. Several artists—including Maxon Crumb and Gris Grimly—present t more...
Amazon Says: The Graphic Canon, Volume 2 gives us a visual cornucopia based on the wealth of literature from the 1800s. Several artists—including Maxon Crumb and Gris Grimly—present their versions of Edgar Allan Poe’s visions. The great American novel Huckleberry Finn is adapted uncensored for the first time, as Twain wrote it. The bad boys of Romanticism—Shelley, Keats, and Byron—are visualized here, and so are the Brontë sisters. We see both of Coleridge’s most famous poems: “Kubla Khan” and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (the latter by British comics legend Hunt Emerson). Philosophy and science are ably represented by ink versions of Nietzsche’sThus Spake Zarathustra and Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. Frankenstein, Moby-Dick, Les Misérables, Great Expectations, Middlemarch, Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment (a hallucinatory take on the pivotal murder scene), Thoreau’s Walden (in spare line art by John Porcellino of King-Cat Comics fame), “The Drunken Boat” by Rimbaud, Leaves of Grass by Whitman, and two of Emily Dickinson’s greatest poems are all present and accounted for. John Coulthart has created ten magnificent full-page collages that tell the story of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. And Pride and Prejudice has never looked this splendiferous! This volume is a special treat for Lewis Carroll fans. Dame Darcy puts her unmistakable stamp on—what else?—the Alice books in a new 16-page tour-de-force, while a dozen other artists present their versions of the most famous characters and moments from Wonderland. There’s also a gorgeous silhouetted telling of “Jabberwocky,” and Mahendra’s Singh’s surrealistic take on “The Hunting of the Snark.” Curveballs in this volume include fairy tales illustrated by the untameable S. Clay Wilson, a fiery speech from freed slave Frederick Douglass (rendered in stark black and white by Seth Tobocman), a letter on reincarnation from Flaubert, the Victorian erotic classic Venus in Furs, the drug classic The Hasheesh Eater, and silk-screened illustrations for the ghastly children’s classic Der Struwwelpeter. Among many other canonical works. less...
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Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
Amazon Says: FEATURED ON MORE THAN TWENTY BEST-OF LISTS, INCLUDING TIME, AMAZON, E! AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY! Hark! A Vagrant is an uproarious romp through history and literature seen through more...
Amazon Says: FEATURED ON MORE THAN TWENTY BEST-OF LISTS, INCLUDING TIME, AMAZON, E! AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY! Hark! A Vagrant is an uproarious romp through history and literature seen through the sharp, contemporary lens of New Yorker cartoonist and comics sensation Kate Beaton. No era or tome emerges unscathed as Beaton rightly skewers the Western world's revolutionaries, leaders, sycophants, and suffragists while equally honing her wit on the hapless heroes, heroines, and villains of the best-loved fiction. She deftly points out what really happened when Brahms fell asleep listening to Liszt, that the world's first hipsters were obviously the Incroyables and the Merveilleuses from eighteenth-century France, that Susan B. Anthony is, of course, a "Samantha," and that the polite banality of Canadian culture never gets old. Hark! A Vagrant features sexy Batman, the true stories behind classic Nancy Drew covers, and Queen Elizabeth doing the albatross. As the 500,000 unique monthly visitors to harkavagrant.com already know, no one turns the ironic absurdities of history and literature into comedic fodder as hilariously as Beaton. less...
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Amazon Says: This graphic novel adaptation contains more than fifty pages of exclusive content not available in the original comic books, including   • a new Preface by George more...
Amazon Says: This graphic novel adaptation contains more than fifty pages of exclusive content not available in the original comic books, including   • a new Preface by George R. R. Martin • early renderings of key scenes and favorite characters from the novels • a walk-through of the entire creative process, from auditioning the artists to tweaking the scripts to coloring the final pages • behind-the-scenes commentary from Daniel Abraham, Tommy Patterson, and series editor Anne Groell You’ve read the books. You’ve watched the hit series on HBO. Now acclaimed novelist Daniel Abraham and illustrator Tommy Patterson bring George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy masterwork A Game of Thrones to majestic new life in the pages of this full-color graphic novel. Comprised of the initial six issues of the graphic series, this is the first volume in what is sure to be one of the most coveted collaborations of the year.   Winter is coming. Such is the stern motto of House Stark, the northernmost of the fiefdoms that owe allegiance to King Robert Baratheon in far-off King’s Landing. There Eddard Stark of Winterfell rules in Robert’s name. There his family dwells in peace and comfort: his proud wife, Catelyn; his sons Robb, Brandon, and Rickon; his daughters Sansa and Arya; and his bastard son, Jon Snow. Far to the north, behind the towering Wall, lie savage Wildings and worse—unnatural things relegated to myth during the centuries-long summer, but proving all too real and all too deadly in the turning of the season.   Yet a more immediate threat lurks to the south, where Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, has died under mysterious circumstances. Now Robert is riding north to Winterfell, bringing his queen, the lovely but cold Cersei, his son, the cruel, vainglorious Prince Joffrey, and the queen’s brothers Jaime and Tyrion of the powerful and wealthy House Lannister—the first a swordsman without equal, the second a dwarf whose stunted stature belies a brilliant mind. All are heading for Winterfell and a fateful encounter that will change the course of kingdoms.   Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, Prince Viserys, heir of the fallen House Targaryen, which once ruled all of Westeros, schemes to reclaim the throne with an army of barbarian Dothraki—whose loyalty he will purchase in the only coin left to him: his beautiful yet innocent sister, Daenerys. less...
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Amazon Says: Nominated for three 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards: From Creation to the death of Joseph, here are all 50 chapters of the Book of Genesis, revealingly illustrated as n more...
Amazon Says: Nominated for three 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards: From Creation to the death of Joseph, here are all 50 chapters of the Book of Genesis, revealingly illustrated as never before. Envisioning the first book of the bible like no one before him, R. Crumb, the legendary illustrator, reveals here the story of Genesis in a profoundly honest and deeply moving way. Originally thinking that we would do a take off of Adam and Eve, Crumb became so fascinated by the Bible’s language, “a text so great and so strange that it lends itself readily to graphic depictions,” that he decided instead to do a literal interpretation using the text word for word in a version primarily assembled from the translations of Robert Alter and the King James bible. Now, readers of every persuasion―Crumb fans, comic book lovers, and believers―can gain astonishing new insights from these harrowing, tragic, and even juicy stories. Crumb’s Book of Genesis reintroduces us to the bountiful tree lined garden of Adam and Eve, the massive ark of Noah with beasts of every kind, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed by brimstone and fire that rained from the heavens, and the Egypt of the Pharaoh, where Joseph’s embalmed body is carried in a coffin, in a scene as elegiac as any in Genesis. Using clues from the text and peeling away the theological and scholarly interpretation that have often obscured the Bible’s most dramatic stories, Crumb fleshes out a parade of Biblical originals: from the serpent in Eden, the humanoid reptile appearing like an alien out of a science fiction movie, to Jacob, a “kind’ve depressed guy who doesn’t strike you as physically courageous,” and his bother, Esau, “a rough and kick ass guy,” to Abraham’s wife Sarah, more fetching than most woman at 90, to God himself, “a standard Charlton Heston-like figure with long white hair and a flowing beard.” As Crumb writes in his introduction, “the stories of these people, the Hebrews, were something more than just stories. They were the foundation, the source, in writing of religious and political power, handed down by God himself.” Crumb’s Book of Genesis, the culmination of 5 years of painstaking work, is a tapestry of masterly detail and storytelling which celebrates the astonishing diversity of the one of our greatest artistic geniuses. Nominated for three 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards: Best Adaptation from Another Work, Best Graphic Album, Best Writer/Artist. less...
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Amazon Says: Young Henry Fleming had always dreamed of performing heroic deedsin battle. But as a raw recruit in the Civil War, Henry experiences fear and self-doubt. Will war make him a c more...
Amazon Says: Young Henry Fleming had always dreamed of performing heroic deedsin battle. But as a raw recruit in the Civil War, Henry experiences fear and self-doubt. Will war make him a coward, or a hero? Artist Wayne Vansant faithfully illustrates Stephen Crane's action-packed tour de force. less...
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Amazon Says: A set of tales inspired by the Arabian Nights by European comics master Sergio Toppi, exploring a barbaric society where the supernatural is the only remedy to injustice, as S more...
Amazon Says: A set of tales inspired by the Arabian Nights by European comics master Sergio Toppi, exploring a barbaric society where the supernatural is the only remedy to injustice, as Sharaz-de, captive to a cruel and despotic king, must each night spin tales to entertain her master and save her head from the executioner. Featuring tales filled with evil spirits, treasures, risk, and danger, but ever at their center the passions of gods and men. less...
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Amazon Says: A stunning graphic adaptation of one of the most famous, contested, and important books of all time.Few books have been as controversial or as historically significant as Char more...
Amazon Says: A stunning graphic adaptation of one of the most famous, contested, and important books of all time.Few books have been as controversial or as historically significant as Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. Since the moment it was released on November 24, 1859, Darwin's masterwork has been heralded for changing the course of science and condemned for its implied challenges to religion. In Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, author Michael Keller and illustrator Nicolle Rager Fuller introduce a new generation of readers to the original text. Including sections about his pioneering research, the book's initial public reception, his correspondence with other leading scientists, as well as the most recent breakthroughs in evolutionary theory, this riveting, beautifully rendered adaptation breathes new life into Darwin's seminal and still polarizing work. less...
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