Booklist calls The Graphic Canon, Volume 1 “a breathtaking glimpse of this young medium’s incredible future”
March 16, 2012
Does it seem that collecting thousands of years worth of world literature in highly abridged form would be somewhat daft? Why, then, is Kick’s gloriously ambitious attempt to collect sequential-art adaptations of those works into three massive volumes such a uniquely powerful piece of art? Because, while it can serve as a study of cultures and histories or as a pedagogical tool (as the source lists, further-reading section, and four indices attest), what this first volume does best is showcase the extraordinary potential of the artform itself. From the literal adaptations of Gareth Hinds’ three selections (The Odyssey, Beowulf, Gulliver’s Travels) to Sanya Glisic’s highly impressionistic take on The Tibetan Book of the Dead, from the classic style of Will Eisner’s Don Quixote to experiments like Edie Fake’s stained-glass interpretation of the The Visions of St. Teresa of Ávila and newcomer Isabel Greenberg’s silent Hagoramo, there is a new visual idea on nearly every turn of the page. Through the reprinted and newly-produced work of 59 (mainly American) adapters and 58 adapted titles, this is not only a survey of the world’s diverse artistic past, but also a breathtaking glimpse of this young medium’s incredible future.