Saturday, May 21, 2011

Graphic Retellings of Classic Stories

I'm starting to think that I might not really be a fan of graphic novels made from classic stories. I seem to find them to be okay but never awesome, never improving on the experience of reading the original. I felt this way about The Picture of Dorian Gray graphic novel that I read last fall and now a graphic version of The Wizard of Oz that I read last week. I appreciated that this book was based on the original novel rather than the well-known movie. And I do think it could be a good stepping stone for children who might only be familiar with the film's version of things (for example, the ruby slippers). But I think it pales in comparison with L. Frank Baum's wonderful storytelling. I simply finished the book and wanted to go read the original -- to experience the full range of emotions that the novel portrays and not just a few brief action scenes.

Have you read any graphic novel versions of classic stories? What are your thoughts on them? Do you have any suggestions for me of one that you thought was well done?

Pondering the magic of the original story,


  1. I used to read the Classic Comics versions of the classics -- like Sherlock Holmes, and Turn of the Screw, and other stuff like that. As a kid I thought they were awesome (but terrifying, especially The Speckled Band). I don't know how they'd compare now. I wish I could get hold of a whole bunch of classic comics and see what they're like now.

  2. I've not read any of these, but I suspect the disappointment is partly due to the pictures not resembling the images you've created in your own head.

  3. I think the problem with graphic novels and classics is that you bring your own vision to the story more so than an original story ... and your vision is often quite different than the graphic novel version. Just looking at that cover makes me think I wouldn't like this either.

  4. Jenny - I wonder if I would like them more if I read the comic first as an intro to the book rather than reading it afterward.

    Tracy - Well, and it's a bit boring to lose the descriptive language and just have drawings. ;)

    Jenners - Yes, and the graphic novels aren't fully fleshed out so even though it's a visual medium, it might not be as deep as the pictures in my head.