Graphic Adaptations of Literature

Literature is about story — novels and short fiction tell the stories, in prose, of the people that inhabit them. These stories can be adapted to other media too — film, television and graphic novels are some examples. Here are some recent graphic novels that tell the stories of their source material in a different way…

Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, with artwork by Emily Carroll — A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda’s freshman year in high school. “Carroll’s grayscale artwork perfectly depicts the starkness of Melinda’s depression through strong ink lines and striking panels that rely on pencil and charcoal textural effects for the backgrounds. This gripping, powerful work will introduce Speak to a brand-new audience and enthrall longtime fans” (School Library Journal).

Poe: Stories and Poems, a Graphic Novel Adaptation by Gareth Hinds — In a thrilling adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s best-known works, acclaimed artist-adapter Gareth Hinds translates Poe’s dark genius into graphic-novel format. “A spellbinding adaptation of one of America’s most legendary authors. This volume can easily be worked into literature courses and is a fantastic way to introduce Poe to new readers” (School Library Journal).

Jane, written by Aline Brosh McKenna, illustrated by Ramón K. Pérez — A reimagining of Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel Jane Eyre set in present day. Growing up in a broken home in a small fishing town, Jane dreamed of escaping to art school and following the allure of New York City. When that dream becomes a reality however, it’s not long before she feels out of place by the size of the city and the talent of her peers. “This modernized romance with a gothic vibe and a heroine loved for her goodness of character will appeal to all readers who enjoy danger and happy endings underlain with ethical grounding” (Library Journal).

Octavia Butler’s Kindred, a Graphic Novel Adaptation by Damian Duffy and John Jennings — Adapted by celebrated academics and comics artists Damian Duffy and John Jennings, this graphic novel powerfully renders Butler’s mysterious and moving story, which spans racial and gender divides in the antebellum South through the 20th century. “The heavily shaded, thick-lined, and rough-edged art lends a grimness appropriate to a life of jagged brutality and fearful uncertainty. Both a rewarding way to reexperience the tale and an accessible way to discover it” (Booklist).

Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”, the Authorized Graphic Adaptation by Miles Hyman — This graphic adaptation by Jackson’s grandson Miles Hyman allows readers to experience “The Lottery” as never before, or to discover it anew. Hyman has crafted an eerie vision of the hamlet where the tale unfolds and the unforgettable ritual its inhabitants set into motion. “One of the strongest graphic adaptations of a classic work to come along in some time” (Booklist).


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