Have you ever stopped to wonder what some of the great writers in history would think of graphic novels? Would they marvel at the ingenuity of combining the power of words with beautiful, well-crafted drawings, or would they scoff at the idea of making reading easier for the average shmoe? And how do you think they would feel about having their own work transformed from masterpiece literature into “adult comic books? It’s hard to say, but we could definitely see someone like Hemmingway having a problem with someone making The Old Man and The Sea: The Graphic Novel. And by having a problem, we mean someone would be getting a bat to the face (you just don’t mess with Hemmingway).
We've compiled our top five favorite classic novels-turned-into graphic novels.
1. I am Legend.
As good as the Will Smith movie was (and it was good), it really was more of an action film than a horror film. What was so creepy and terrifying about the original Robert Matheson story was that the main character was just a normal guy who had everything ripped away from him until all that remained were the vampires that wanted him dead. This never-ending terror is captured well in the graphic novel. Of course, there’s always the argument that imagination is the greatest tool for a horror story, but the detailed pictures of the zombie hordes in a post-apocalyptic world make a strong case against that argument.
2. Game of Thrones
For the most part, you really couldn’t ask for a better adaptation than the Game of Thrones TV show. However, there is one major part from the books that is missing from the show: the prose. George R.R. Martin has a way of writing that just brings the imagery to life that is sorely missed from the show. You do get some amazing visuals in the show that involve decapitation, horses, and horse decapitation (yeah, that happens), all of which are obviously lacking from the book. But with the graphic novel, you get the best of both worlds. Of course, you may have to buy over 14 thick graphic novels to finish the freakin’ thing, but we all know that that’s a worthwhile investment.
3. Fahrenheit 451
You have to wonder if the “firemen” in the post-apocalyptic world of Fahrenheit 451 would have been so quick to burn all those books if they had been awesome graphic novels instead. While we may never know the answer to that question, we can tell you that the frightening and mesmerizing pictures in the graphic novel version of F-451 (that’s how the cool kids say it) will be real enough to make you realize that a world without novels (graphic or otherwise) would be a world not worth living in.
4. The Jungle
It’s one thing to read about the horrifying secret truth of the meatpacking industry in the early 1900’s, but it’s quite another to see images of maggot-filled food, rats getting into the rendering vats (and thus becoming part of the food themselves) and poor immigrant workers getting abused beyond belief by their employees. Just one read of this graphic novel will have you praising the creation of the FDA.
5. Crime and Punishment
SPOILER ALERT: In the novel Crime and Punishment, Russian author Dostoyevsky paints a picture of a desperate man who has decided to do murder to both better himself and others. But what follows the murder is not charity for those who need it, but rather a descent into madness, where this murderer goes in and out of feverish delirium as he panics about getting caught. The best aspect of the graphic novel version of Crime and Punishment is capturing this descent into madness. Just be careful you don’t get to caught up in the imagery and begin the descent yourself!
What book do you want to see made into a graphic novel?