Introduction

Graphic Novels are a great way to make literary text more accessible and approachable, especially for folks who might otherwise struggle with a dense text. There are also a number of comics out there that put a new spin on a classic tale. Below are our picks of graphic novel adaptations or retellings that you may have missed!

Brave New World: A Graphic Novel

Aldous Huxley

Fred Fordham

Cover Image

This adaption of Brave New World takes a dystopian tale that feels as prescient now as it did when Huxley originally wrote it and adds Fred Fordham's cinematic visuals to give this story new life. With an art style that feels like classic sci-fi without feeling dated, this adaption will appeal to both graphic novel fans and lovers of the original novel.

Appeals to

Sci-fi/dystopia fans looking to see this classic novel in a new light.

Content Notes

Violence. Nudity and sexual situations.

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Dune: The Graphic Novel

Frank Herbert

Raúl Allén

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With Dune Part Two just released in theaters, this is a perfect time to check out the official graphic novel adaption. This adaption was done by Frank Herbert's son with the help of prolific SFF author Kevin J. Anderson. This adaption brings Herbert's vast deserts of Arrakis and water water-covered surface of Caladan to life, with a desire to keep to close to the source material as possible. The third and final volume of this adaption will be released in July 2024.

Appeals to

Those looking to revisit Hebert's rich world, or those looking to experience it for the first time will find something worthwhile in this adaption.

Content Notes

Violence. Depictions of war and political assassinations.

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

M is for Monster

Talia Dutton

Cover Image

Consider if Frankenstein was a story featuring a more diverse cast and did more to discuss the problems of holding on to the past and embracing change. Also, there's a ghost in this one. M wakes up not knowing she's supposed to be Maura, sister to the doctor who just revived her and fellow scientist. Unfortunately, M is not Maura, even with Maura's ghost following her and her sister trying to encourage old memories and habits to return.

Appeals to

This comic would be an ideal pick for readers who like a tinge of horror in their comics while also exploring topics of identity and expression, like Blackwater or Hollow, even readers of Nimona though of course there are minimal fantasy elements in M is for Monster.

Content Notes

Mild body horror

Creator Identities:

Chinese-American |

Queer |

Main Character Identities:

Assumed Asian |

Lesbian, Queer |

Nonbinary |

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Poems to See By

Julian Peters

Cover Image

In an unusual take on the idea of adaptation, Julian Peters tackled the task of taking poetry and creating comics from them. Each poem gets a distinct visual style to help tell the story, often pulling from the context of each poem (things like time period and poet's culture) to really cement the visual language being used to convey the text. It's a comic absolutely worth flipping through, picking a different comic/poem to study each time.

Appeals to

Poems to See By would make an excellent teaching text for parents or school librarians, since again there's so much to pull from to help students understand both comics and poetry, but it's also a great way to help introduce a child or teen to some of the great poets, using the visual element as a way to help understand some of the more difficult poetic language.

Content Notes

Some violence and blood, depictions of war and death

Creator Identities:

Canadian, Italian |

Main Character Identities:

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Prince of Cats

Ron Wimberley

Cover Image

Consider if Romeo & Juliet was retold from Tybalt's perspective, and also set in a hip-hop-inspired 80s style backdrop. That would be Prince of Cats, a comic awash in pinks, purples, and blues, combining the original lines of the play with more modern references but keeping to iambic pentameter. Of course, because it follows Tybalt the story ends a bit sooner than the classic play, but giving Tybalt his moment in the limelight really brings perspective and sympathy to his role, and maybe explains more fully just why he's called The Prince of Cats.

Appeals to

Having context from reading and enjoying Romeo & Juliet or one of its many adaptations can help and would certainly make this comic a good choice for those readers, but the comic is enjoyable without that. The art and the way the lines interweave Shakespearean English with much more recent forms of the language make it a great choice for anyone who enjoys that kind of play in language or an unusual take on comic art.

Content Notes

Some violence and blood.

Creator Identities:

Black |

Main Character Identities:

Assumed Black |

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Sapiens: A Graphic History

Yuval Noah Harari

David VanderMeulen

Cover Image

In this graphic novel adaption of New York Times Best Seller "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind", author and historian Yuval Noah Harari becomes a character in their books, guiding us through the rise of Homo Sapiens as the only human species left on earth by explaining the big questions the book grapples with to his niece, with the help of other researchers who also appear in the book and more symbolic characters like Dr. Fiction and a "cave people" couple that show some of our false ideas about how early human's live. The third installment of this series will be released in October 2024.

Appeals to

Those interested in history, anthropology, or just wondered how humans as a race went from hunting large game in nomadic tribes to where we are today.

Content Notes

Brief discussion of cannibalism. Discussion of killing of the old and disabled, killing small children, ritual killings.

Creator Identities:

Israeli |

Main Character Identities:

Assumed Asian, Assumed Black, Assumed East Asian |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Slaughterhouse-Five: The Graphic Novel

Kurt Vonnegut

Albert Monteys

Cover Image

In this humble features writer's opinion, there is not a book more ripe for a graphic novel adaption than Slaughterhouse-Five. With a main character described as "unstuck in time," it is easy to get lost in this non-linear narrative. See the juxtaposition of the different scenes of Billy Pilgrim's life smashed together on the page is a real delight, even if many moments of Billy's life are anything but delightful. Readers will experience time as Billy does as they make their way through this graphic novel.

Appeals to

For all Vonnegut lovers, an adaptation that the creator himself would have been delighted to see.

Content Notes

War and violence. Course language. Sexual situations. Discussions of death.

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

  • Tayla

    | She/Her Branch Librarian

    Features Writer

    Tayla Cardillo (she/her) is the Branch Librarian of the Oaklawn branch of the Cranston Public Library in Cranston, RI. She is also a member of the ALA Graphic Novel and Comic Round Table and the chair of the Rhode Island Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee. She completed her MLIS at the University of Rhode Island and her B.A. in English at Rhode Island College. Tayla has known that she wanted to be a librarian since she was 17 years old. When not doing library wizardry, she enjoys playing tabletop games and cosplaying.

  • Shannan

    | She/They Teen Services Librarian, San Antonio Public Library

    Features Writer

    Shannan waffled between English professor and librarian as career choices for all of college; eventually librarian won. She is a Teen Services Librarian with the San Antonio Public Library. When not running TTPRG games for their teens or teaching them how to bake, she's doing what she can to promote comics to anyone who will listen. At home they're likely deep in the middle of their latest cosplay project or watching B movies with her husband, while generally pushing the cats out of the way.

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