Comic books are being adapted into everything these days, from movies to television to video games and more, taking the characters and concepts from their original medium and reinterpreting them for new ones, to often spectacular effect. And though they’re sometimes overlooked, comics themselves are just as useful a vehicle for adaptation, and one of the most common mediums that comics like to adapt is their non-comic cousins: books!
As we continue through Blastr’s Book Month, I’ve compiled this list of 10 graphic novel adaptations of books that are more than worth your hard-earned entertainment dollar. They touch on everything from children’s fantasy to gothic horror, from classic literature to popular novels, and much more!
There are many other wonderful book adaptations out there, so be sure to let us know your personal favorites in the comments below.
THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ HC
(Adapted by Eric Shanower & Skottie Young. Marvel, 2009)
This multi-award-winning adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s famous children’s fantasy novel has so much magic packed into every page that it might explode. With a lovingly faithful script from Eric Shanower and zany, whimsical line work from the inimitable Skottie Young, this is an interpretation that will enchant readers of all ages. And in case one book’s not enough, the same team has adaptations of Marvelous Land of Oz, Ozma of Oz, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, Road to Oz and Emerald City of Oz waiting for you when you reach the end of the yellow brick road.
THE HEDGE KNIGHT TPB
(Adapted by Ben Avery & Mike S. Miller. Jet City Comics, 2014)
Is winter a bit too close for comfort? Then take a trip back to a time before A Song of Ice and Fire with these adaptations of George R.R. Martin’s “Dunk and Egg” novellas that follow Duncan the Tall and his squire, the future King Aegon Targaryen of Westeros, several decades before the core novels. Jet City Comics recently reprinted both The Hedge Knight and its sequel The Sworn Sword after the previous publishers had allowed both to fall out of print for several years. A must-read for anyone hungry for more Game of Thrones material.
DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP OMNIBUS
(Adapted by Tony Parker. BOOM! Studios, 2015)
Artist Tony Parker took on a truly Herculean task by adapting legendary sci-fi author Philip K. Dick’s most well-known novel. This beautifully-designed tome collects all 24 issues of the endeavor, bringing the entirety of the book that inspired Blade Runner to life on the page. Nominated for an Eisner Award, this meticulously detailed adaptation perfectly captures the novel’s unique setting and unforgettable characters, but Parker still manages to leave his unique mark on all of it. This should be gracing the bookshelves of any sci-fi connoisseur.
A WRINKLE IN TIME HC
(Adapted by Hope Larson. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012)
Madeleine L’Engle’s Newberry-winning science-fantasy comes to vivid life in this adaptation from cartoonist — and upcoming Batgirl writer — Hope Larson. An Eisner Award-winner and New York Times Bestseller, Larson’s vision of the seminal novel has brought a whole new audience to the work, and is helping to create a whole new generation of fans. The cartoonist’s black, white and blue art and lush, confident lines create a sense of surrealism and wonder befitting the and in some ways subtly reinventing the original in a reading experience like no other.
FAHRENHEIT 451: THE AUTHORIZED ADAPTATION TPB
(Adapted by Tim Hamilton. Hill and Wang, 2009)
One of the most well-known cautionary sci-fi tales of all time is brought to life in this adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. This tale of a future where books are outlawed and burned is illustrated by Tim Hamilton, who masterfully utilizes deep shadows and a muted color palette in contrast with the strikingly bright hues of the story’s sinister flames. The books messages about the oppression of free thought are just as relevant as ever, making this a great time to experience the classic story in a whole new way.
THE LAST UNICORN HC
(Adapted by Peter B. Gillis, Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon. IDW, 2011)
Whether through the animated film or through Peter S. Beagle’s original novel, The Last Unicorn has captured the hearts of countless fans, and now it can do it through yet another medium: a graphic novel! Illustrated by Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon, the artists behind the Eisner-nominated Legend of Wonder Woman, this adaptation is just as enchanting and enthralling as fans expect from this classic fantasy story. Take a journey to discover the power of love all over again with this timeless book.
THE COMPLETE DRACULA HC
(Adapted by Leah Moore, John Reppion and Colton Worley. Dynamite, 2009)
Not content with just adapting the horror of the Bram Stoker classic, this version also adds in chapters and pieces of the novel that Stoker had originally cut from the story. With new short stories like “Dracula’s Guest” intertwined into the original, The Complete Dracula presents the king of all vampire stories in a way you’ve never seen before. Colton Worley’s beautifully eerie, digitally painted pages are perfectly suited to the atmosphere of uncertainty pervading the story, making this a feast for the eyes as well as the fangs. It’s time to invite Dracula into your home once again.
THE BOOK OF GENESIS
(Adapted by Robert Crumb. W.W. Norton &Company, 2009)
One of the world’s foremost cartoonists kept truckin’ for over four years to complete this exactingly literal adaptation of the entirety first book of the Bible. Surprising critics upon its release for its relative tameness, Robert Crumb decided to forego his classically satirical voice and instead simply adapt the book word for word, which lends itself to some bizarre—and explicit—images all on its own. With a Harvey Award win and three Eisner nominations, the painstaking attention to detail found in the pages of The Book of Genesis is sure to intrigue readers and art lovers of all faiths and persuasions.
EDGAR ALLAN POE’S SPIRITS OF THE DEAD HC
(Adapted by Richard Corben. Dark Horse, 2014)
With a career spanning over four decades, Richard Corben is one of the preeminent masters of comic book horror. So who better for him to adapt than the father of horror himself, Edgar Allan Poe? This collection brings together Corben’s extensive work adapting the author’s stories and poems, including The Fall of the House of Usher, The Raven, The Red Death, Morella, The Murders in the Rue Morgue and many more. Corben’s work here is chilling and subtly disturbing, proving Corben and Poe to be a match made in horror heaven.
THE STAND OMNIBUS
(Adapted by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Mike Perkins and Laura Martin. Marvel, 2012)
Marvel has been bringing the work of Stephen King to comics for some time now with their books fleshing out the world of The Dark Tower, but if you’re just looking for a faithful graphic adaptation of one of the master’s novels, look no further than The Stand. This massive hardcover omnibus collects the entirety of the epic (first published as six miniseries) post-apocalyptic story, moodily illustrated by Mike Perkins with sublime colors from Eisner Award-winning colorist Laura Martin. Anyone needing their Stephen King fix while they wait for The Dark Tower to hit screens should grab this book.