Graphic Novel Adaptations

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Never mind about the Tuesday/Friday schedule for now. I’m having trouble boxing myself in. For example, I wanted to show this cover to everyone without having to wait until Tuesday:

PrideAndPrejudice_01

Doesn’t that make you want to pick up this book and read the whole thing? I love the illustration of Lizzy, and it makes me excited to open it and see all the rest of the characters I love! Plus the teen-mag spin with the teasers? Awesome.

This was just one of the many cool and unexpected things I discovered at the TYCA-West (Two Year College Association) conference this weekend. Levia Hayes and Elizabeth Henkel from the College of Southern Nevada gave a presentation entitled, “Comic Books and Visual Literature: Superpower or Kryptonite?” This cover was on their handout, along with a comic-book version of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment and a comic book TEXTBOOK–that is, a textbook about comic books written as a comic book! How would you like that in college?

I’ve read only a few graphic novels, including American Born Chinese (super cool twist at the end!), Shannon’s and Dean’s and Nathan’s Rapunzel’s Revenge, and Holly Black’s The Good Neighbors (book 1), and so my experience with the genre is very limited, but I like the idea of graphic novels, the idea of having to read pictures closely to understand a story, all of that. pride_and_prejudice_3_by_sonny123

Anyhow, all three of those are original stories, not adaptations. This cover for P&P won me over instantly, and I’m excited to encounter a familiar, well-loved novel in a new way. I surfed over to my library website and put it on hold while sitting in the presentation. 

In high school we watched the BBC film rather than reading the book, but how cool would it be for teachers to use several versions–the original novel, the graphic novel, the BBC film, and the Focus Features film–and have students compare and contrast? You wouldn’t even have to show both films in their entirety.

There are, of course, a million other adaptations of P&P, with zombies and everything, but I like the idea of having high school students or college students analyze how the visual format of a comic book impacts the story, maybe falling in between the genres of novel and film.

Has anyone read any graphic novel adaptations of classics or contemporary novels? I’ve heard that Twilight is currently being adapted. Are there others? What are your opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of the genre? (Do I sound like I just got out of a conference? Sorry!)

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6 responses »

  1. I haven’t read any graphic novel adaptations yet but I’ve been thinking about reading the graphic version of the first book in James Patterson’s Maximum Ride. I read it and didn’t like it much, but keep seeing people raving about it. I saw it at the library in graphic novel form, and I keep wondering if I might like it better in that format!

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  2. Wow…I’m so glad you liked our presentation! I’m teaching the comic book class again here at the College of Southern Nevada in the fall, and it is already full! It is certainly a fun and interesting way to teach literature. The students are actually eager to share with me their insights on character, setting, and plotlines in a genre that they always felt was a guilty pleasure! It’s finals time for the spring semester, and I have students I do not even know stopping by my office to talk about the fall class and graphic novels they’ve read and want to read. It certainly is an aspect of new literacies that I think we, as English teachers, need to at least acknowledge. Take Care, and I hope to see you at TYCA West here in Las Vegas in October!

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    • Thanks for stopping by the blog. I agree that it’s so important to recognize graphic novels as contributions to literature, especially since we live in a society so inundated with visual rhetoric. Good luck with your fall class!

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  3. hi! i love your illustrations… may i have your permission to use it as my facebook background… i don’t want to get sued by doing that…

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