Collection Highlights: Drawn from the Classics

Cover image of

Cover image of Drawn from the Classics: Essays on Graphic Adaptations of Literary Works, the book tying together our literary adaptation themed blog post. 

[Hello! Dave Carter here; I'm the subject specialist for comics and graphic novels at the library. One of our University Library Associates, Liz Settoducato, has been helping out with some projects related to the comics collection here at AAEL. As part of this work, she will be writing blog posts highlighting parts of the comics collection. Below is her first post, about comic adaptations of classic works of literature. Please join me in welcoming Liz to the Da Vinci's Notes blog!]

Cover image of "Drawn from the Classics"

Drawn From the Classics

Edited by Stephen Tabachnick and Esther Saltzman

PN 6726 .D735 2015

This collection of essays focuses on graphic adaptations of literary classics, with works from roughly the 7th-8th century BCE (Homer’s Odyssey) to the late nineteenth century (with authors like Conrad, Wilde, et al.). The book provides a solid--though brief--foundation for both comics studies and adaptations theory, equipping readers from all disciplines to engage with scholarship that imagines classic books in a new light.

There are dozens of specific titles and adapters mentioned in this volume. Here are just a few adaptations of classic literature you can find in the AAEL.


Cover image of  Seymour Chwast's adaptation of "The Odyssey"

The Odyssey

Adapted by Seymour Chwast

PN 6727 .C499 O39 2012

Odysseus embarks on the same treacherous voyage and fights the same monsters that readers of Homer’s Odyssey will remember, but Chwast’s monochromatic blue interpretation outfits Odysseus with a spaceship and ray guns. With the same 24-book (chapter, here) structure and different text as Homer’s epic, this adaptation is further testament to the versatility of the hero’s journey as a compelling theme.


Cover image of Stefan Petrucha & Kody Chamberlain's Beowulf adaptation


‚Äč Story by Stefan Petrucha, Art by Kody Chamberlain

PN 6727 .P469 B46 2007

This first English language epic tells the tale of Beowulf, a warrior tasked with defeating the murderous and fearsome monster Grendel and saving the people of King Hrothgar from this beastly threat. Petrucha and Chamberlain’s adaptation uses some of the original text (translated into modern English from Old English) but relies most heavily on visual narratives to tell this heroic tale.



Cover image of the Illustrated Classics "Murder in the Rue Morgue"

“The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and Other Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

Adapted by Jean David Morvan, Corbeyran, Fabrice Druet, and Paul Marcel

PN 6727 .M687 M87 2013

Poe’s work has been adapted by many artists, and the Classics Illustrated Deluxe version uses color and panel design long before the appearance of dialogue to reinterpret Poe’s more verbose literary exposition and convey a mood appropriate to his tales of mystery and murder.



Cover of Rick Geary's Illustrated Classics adaption of "Wuthering Heights"

Wuthering Heights

Adapted by Rick Geary

PN 6727 .G43 W88 2011

Eisner Award winner Rick Geary conveys the essence of Emily Bronte’s complex Gothic novel in less than 60 pages. This volume includes a brief synopsis of the full-color tale of the adventures of Cathy and brooding Heathcliffe that follows.




Cover of Lew Sayre Schwartz & Dick Giordano's "Moby Dick"

Moby Dick: Based on the Novel by Herman Melville

Retelling by Lew Sayre Schwartz, Illustrations by Dick Giordano

PN 6727 .G43 W88 2011

Melville’s monstrous novel is reduced to a manageable 48 pages that supplements the treacherous whaling tale with biographical information, historical context about whaling, and facts about whales. It’s one of many noteworthy adaptations, including those by Eisner (2001), and Sienkiewicz (1990).


Cover image of "Alice in Sunderland"

Alice in Sunderland

By Bryan Talbot

PN 6727. T35 A75 2007

This award-winning take on the Lewis Carroll classic explores Carroll’s relationship with the town of Sunderland, a major shipping hub in northeast England. Though the story takes place in a real location (and not the fictional Wonderland), the journey depicted is surreal and fantasy-filled nonetheless.



Cover image of "Bram Stoker's Dracula: The Graphic Novel"

Bram Stoker’s Dracula: The Graphic Novel

Adapted by Gary Reed, Illustrated by Becky Cloonan

PN 6727 .R435 B73 2006

Stoker’s popular Victorian vampire tale is interpreted in black and white, and illustrated by Eisner Award winner Becky Cloonan (who also illustrated the completely unadapted text of this novel in 2012).



Cover image of Marvel's adapted "The Picture of Dorian Gray"

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Adapted by: Roy Thomas, Artist: Sebastian Fiumara

PN 6727 .T456 P53 2009

This Marvel Illustrated adaptation is a collection of Wilde’s dark story of vanity and mortality, presented in six graphic installments. Each volume begins with a helpful written summary to catch readers up on what has occurred thus far and where the story begins.


Cover image of "Who Fighter: With Heart of Darkness"

Who Fighter: With Heart of Darkness

Adapted by Seiho Takizawa

PN 6790 .J33 T353 W46 2006

Of the stories included in this work, Heart of Darkness is the one mentioned in Drawn From the Classics. Tazikawa’s exploration of imperialism and military history reimagines Conrad’s novella with Colonel Kurutsu (meant to replace Conrad’s Kurtz) in 1940s occupied Burma.