Friday, March 8, 2013

The Graphic Novel Trend

The Alchemist: A Graphic Novel By Paulo CoelhoReading the review of The Cartoon Guide to Genetics got me thinking about a huge trend we’ve noticed in the academic department: graphic novels. In fact, most of the books that teachers were really excited about (especially teachers of boys) at the National Council of Teachers of English Conference were graphic originals or adaptations. So I thought I’d share a few of our graphic books that the teachers I’ve met seem to really love.
Scott McCloud is kind of a god in comic book and graphic novel circles. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more like Santa than when we gave his books out at NCTE. Professors assigned me his book Understanding Comics twice while I was in college: once in a course on women’s bodies and texts, and once in a post-modern literature course—a nod to the post-modern breakdown of high/low culture. If you’re ever teaching a graphic novel, McCloud’s text is such a wonderful supplement to explain the theory (sign, signifier, etc.) and history of the progressively academically accepted comic form. And, obviously, you won’t get too many students complaining about reading it, because it’s a really engaging comic itself. McCloud has also published Making Comics (more of a how-to guide), Reinventing Comics (a treatise on the new revolutions in comics, including the digital age), and Zot! (McCloud’s groundbreaking comic collection).

Another book that definitely got teachers' attention at NCTE was The Alchemist: A Graphic Novel. Yes, you read that correctly. Paolo Coehlo’s perennially bestselling and beloved tale of self-discovery has come out in graphic novel form, making his beautiful book even more accessible to all students. Artist Daniel Sampere’s evocative illustration brings readers alongside Andalusian shepherd Santiago as he journeys from country to country learning the truths of life and experience. And apparently Coehlo was pleased with the finished result:

“It was an old dream of mine to have The Alchemist as a graphic novel. This version exceeds my expectations and is a beautiful manifestation of what I originally imagined while crafting this story.”—Paulo Coelho

The graphic version of Coelho’s book can be read on its own, but also as a part of a study on adaptation, and what is gained and lost in the transition from one artistic form to another.

Click on the links above if you’re interested in browsing some of these wonderful books, perfect for voracious and reluctant readers alike.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I put a link up on my blog: The medium has a lot of heavyweights proving there are excellent and outstanding stories being shared!