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Comics

Comics Turn the Page on Novel Adaptations

When people think about adaptations, they might consider a feature film or TV series like Batman or True Blood respectively. Now, while comic books are generally about superheroes, they have also been used to adapt numerous stories to the four-colored world.

One of the earliest sets of graphic adaptations was with “Classics Illustrated,” which took famous works such as “The Odyssey,” “A Tale of Two Cities,” and even a comic book version of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The “Classics Illustrated” series ran for three decades from 1941 to 1971. Through these comics, readers still experienced timeless classics but viewed them through a series of drawings by the artists involved.

Marvel Comics has continued the tradition of adapting classic stories for a modern audience with stories like “Moby Dick,” “Treasure Island,” and “Pride and Prejudice.” However, one of the more interesting aspects to revisiting old stories through comic book lenses is with the successful adaptations of L. Frank Baum’s Oz stories.

Together, writer Eric Shanover and artist Scottie Young have brought readers back to Oz through their illustrated versions of “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Marvelous Land of Oz,” and “Ozma of Oz.” While Shanover had previously brought other Oz stories to comics, this was the first he would work to stay true to the book.

In a 2008 interview with Marvel.com, Shanover described why he finally chose to adapt “The Wizard of Oz” for the House of Ideas. He said, “I wanted everything that was part of the book to stay in some way. Now, of course, it’s an adaptation, and it’s for a different medium from prose to comics, so there are different demands. My other main goal was to make sure it was a good comic, not just an adaptation where it didn’t matter to me if it was good or bad as long as I got everything in.”

Shanover and Young will continue their collaboration down the yellow brick road with the next series “Dorothy & the Wizard of Oz.”

While Marvel has had its hands busy retelling timeless stories, they haven’t been the only ones to do so. Companies like IDW have demonstrated their adaptations through graphic novels like “I Am Legend” and using fan-favorite horror writer, Steve Niles, to help guide the artist’s vision to this apocalyptic tale.

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How Comic Books Dealt With the Tragedy of 9/11

Following the events of September 11, there have been movies (World Trade Center) and TV specials discussing the tragedy of this day as well as the heroism of police, firefighters, and first responders who braved the danger to help anyone they could.

However, what people might not know is that the comic book community also developed graphic novels and comics in which writers and artists created stories centering around this day to honor those lost and reminding people to never forget.

Just like the noble intentions of its heroes, many of the proceeds from these books were donated to organizations such as the World Trade Center Relief Fund, Survivors Fund, Twin Tower Fund, and the American Red Cross.
One of the bigger collaborations resulted in a two volume graphic novel series known as “9-11: September 11.”
The first volume was called “9-11: September 11 (Artists Respond)” and published by independent publisher Chaos!, Dark Horse, and Image Comics.

According to the solicitation on Amazon.com, “Among Volume One’s contributors are writer/artist William Stout, who shares the true story of a Yugoslavian citizen’s love of Americans; Stan Sakai, vividly recalling his last visit to New York City; and Paul Chadwick, who offers his interpretation of the heroism of the passengers on Flight 93, whose sacrifice kept September 11 from being an even more tragic day...”

Some other writers and artists telling their stories were Will Eisner, Frank Miller, Dave Gibbons, Eric Powell, and Tony Millionaire.

The second volume, “9-11: September 11 (The World’s Finest Comic Book Writers & Artists Tell Stories to Remember,” was published through DC Comics.

This volume is notable for an Alex Ross cover showing Superman and his pet, Krypto, looking in awe at a mural of police, firefighters, and paramedics. It continued the tone from the first one and included more stories from writers and artists such as Neil Gaiman, Stan Lee, Jim Lee, Neal Adams, and Ed Brubaker.

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