"The Graveyard Book" - Neil Gaiman & "The Iliad" - Homer/Gareth Hinds
Although comics are often described as brain candy by more archaic mindsets, they are often just as enlightening as their less pictured counter parts. In fact, there are many novels have graphic novel adaptations of novels and classic literature that bring the books to life and open up the world of those books to people who may have otherwise ignored them. For those interested in such adaptations, the library is the perfect place to be.
“The Graveyard Book” is Neil Gaiman’s critically acclaimed children’s novel about a boy who raised by ghosts in a graveyard. P. Craig Russell adapts it to graphic novel format, and does a masterful job. In this book, Nobody Owens is surrounded family who dotes on him. The only thing is, his family is not alive. Being left for dead at a young age by the Man Jack, the person responsible for the death of his biological family, Nobody lives each day to the fullest, guarded by a loving ghost community who ironically want nothing more than for him to live. There are two volumes to the set, and a plethora of illustrators contributed to the novel. This adds a bit of diversity to the art style, yet it all blends well to create a cohesive experience. Fans of the novel are in for a treat with “The Graveyard Book” graphic adaptation, and those who never read the original will be just as enthralled. Both volumes can be found in Young Adult fiction, under Gaiman.
Homer’s “The Iliad” is a well-known epic poem that is often taught in high school classrooms. Its influence on Western literature is undeniable, and even those who have not read the poem are familiar with the Trojan War and Helen of Troy. “The Iliad” tells the story of Paris, prince of Troy, spiriting away Helen of Sparta, and the ten year war between Troy a and Greece that was waged in an attempt to rescue Helen from her captors. In this story, readers become familiar with the pantheon of Greek gods and many of the tropes that continue with Western story telling. Gareth Hinds does a great job of adapting the poem to graphic novel format. The illustrations bring the heroes and gods, such as Achilles, Agmemnon, and to life. “The Iliad” seem a little less like myth. Like the poem, it explores themes such as hubris, fate, and mortality. It is well researched and accurate to the source material, and it’s very evident how much reverence Hinds has for the original epic. This graphic novel is great for both those who love the original poem and those who have any interest in mythology. “The Iliad” can be found in Young Adult paperbacks under “H”.
-Robert, Roswell Public Library, New Mexico