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The Graphic Canon, Vol. 3: From Heart of…

The Graphic Canon, Vol. 3: From Heart of Darkness to Hemingway to Infinite…

by Russell Kick

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I read the third installment of this interesting graphic project with more interest than the previous one, which I never finished, and not as much as the first. (Nineteenth century literature just doesn't really do it for me*). I am a child of the late twentieth century so many of the adapted books in this one were familiar to me. The quality varied. The most successful adaptations actually tried to present (or represent) the works in comic form: words and sequential pictures. The least successful were single, obscure images which contained very little meaning in the absence of the work they were supposedly derived from (or in some cases, even if I knew the work). Unfortunately there were quite a few of this type. They allowed for more pages and more works to be covered, but there was a cost. In these cases the editorial was more verbose and informative than the artwork; I found the editorial explaining both story and artwork. Fail! The worst was a poem rendered in 'radical' (ie. not readable) typography and no image at all. There were no comics which completely amazed me and a few whose style annoyed me (always a risk with anthologies). My favourites were ones which told a story: Ernest Hemingway's 'Living on $1000 a year in Paris' (Steve Rolston) and 'A Matter of Colour' (Dan Duncan), and H. G. Wells' ' The New Accelerator' (Cole Johnson). An OK collection, but the obscure single-image adaptations made chunks of it come across as an illustrated '1000 books to read before you die', a catalogue of canon rather than a collection.

* A notable exception is Walden by Henry Thoreau, which was nicely adapted in volume 2 of the Graphic Canon ( )
  questbird | Apr 29, 2014 |
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Collects graphic adaptations of twentieth century literary classics, including "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," "The Metamorphosis," and "Lady Chatterly's Lover."

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