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Book review: ‘The Graphic Canon Vol. 1’

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J. Caleb Mozzocco

The Details

The Graphic Canon Vol. 1
By Russ Kick, $35

While comics adaptations of literary works have been around since at least 1941, when the Classics Illustrated series was launched, editor Russ Kick envisioned something audaciously more ambitious: A single “graphic” book adapting the entirety of the literary canon.

This seemingly impossible task was made a bit less so by putting together three volumes of his new The Graphic Canon, and filling it mostly with adaptations of fragments of the works included.

The first volume contains adaptations of 55 classics by about as many different artists, some of the selections created specifically for this collection, others excerpted from pre-existing comics like Action Philosophers, the Trickster anthology and Gareth Hinds’ The Odyssey and Beowulf.

In his introduction, Kick expresses his hopes that The Graphic Canon will become a college textbook, and that it will entice readers to plunge into the original works it adapts.

It seems just as likely—if not more likely—to entice readers to seek out the work of the many great artists who contributed their adaptations.

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