The Campfire Classic series of comics, which adapts famous pieces of classic literature into graphic novels for young readers, sets its sights on Miguel de Cervantes’ immortal classic, Don Quixote. In this second volume, Don Quixote finds himself at home after experiencing several misguided adventures with his squire, Sancho Panza. When his squire comes calling, Don Quixote’s niece and housekeeper attempt to keep the man at bay, wishing that their ward live his last years in peace. The older man summons his squire, who is then introduced to Samson Carrasco, a gentleman who tricks Don Quixote into believing that he is an admirer and suggests that he participate in a jousting tournament. Along the way, he challenges a knight after suffering insults to his character and journeys to a town that delights in playing tricks on him. Don Quixote’s adventures ultimately come to an end, when he is bested by the Knight of the White Moon, who orders Don Quixote back home.
A graphic novel adaptation of Don Quixote is a good idea, considering the richness of the story, but forcing Cervantes’ work into two short volumes does the novel a disservice. Granted, Campfire comics are geared towards young teens, but the oversimplified story suffers from a bulky script crammed within a short number of pages. It is as if the publishers said, “We want this graphic novel to be EXACTLY 68 pages long” and as a result, the story pacing is light enough for young audiences, but the work doesn’t have much soul or heart. Don Quixote is a literary epic and by stuffing word bubbles with text that was either lifted from the actual novel or quotes from Cliff Notes, the comic quickly becomes dull and uninteresting. The content of the book is very clean, so it is suitable for Campfire’s target demographic (the activity pages on delusional disorders should keep them occupied for a few minutes afterwards) and while they probably won’t care that the adaptation is somewhat sloppy, the copious amount of dialog will likely turn them away or turn reading into a chore. The artwork is solid, but lacks the charm of the rich, stylized cover art.
Although Campfire’s goal to introduce young (and reluctant) readers to classic literature through graphic novel adaptations is noble, they could have done a better job with it. At the very least, the work is serviceable, but I can’t help feeling that someone out there could do a much better job with the source material.