Given the popularity of comics, it isn’t surprising that many works originally created and released as books and films have been adapted into comics and graphic novels. Not only does this bring these stories to a new audience, but in the process of adapting and illustrating these stories, the creators of the comics are able to add their own take on the original version. In the past, I’ve written about Hope Larson’s adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time and Leigh Dragoon’s adaptation of Legend by Marie Lu in my post on science fiction comics, but this list offers even more options for thought provoking adaptations of some popular works.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs with art by Cassandra Jean – The original version of Miss Peregrine’s was well known for integrating photographs into its story of Peculiars trapped in a time loop who are attacked by monsters. Jean’s artwork fits the mood of the story perfectly and helps to bring to life the fantastical elements of Riggs’ work. This version will appeal to fans of the original and those who have never read the story before.
The Baby-Sitter’s Club: Kristy’s Great Idea by Raina Telgemeier and adapted from Ann M. Martin’s novel – This is the first of five Baby-Sitter’s Club books that Telgemeier has adapted as graphic novels, and manages to be simultaneously true to the original book and to bring a new take on these classic characters through the way that they are written and illustrated. The graphic novel format allows her to show each character’s personality in their facial expressions and appearance. If you know any young teens who are fans of stories about friendship or babysitting, this is a great way to introduce them to this classic series.
Pride & Prejudice by Nancy Butler with art by Hugo Petrus adapted from Jane Austen’s book – With a cover that is designed to be reminiscent of Seventeen or Teen Vogue, you can tell from the start that this graphic novel aims to appeal to a teen crowd. Though the rest of the story doesn’t quite match the cover in terms of approach to the story, it does do a nice job of adapting a classic story for a new format and abbreviating the plot without losing too much. Fans of comics and fans of Jane Austen will enjoy this one. (For those who prefer manga, Pride and Prejudice has also been adapted as a manga by Stacy King.)
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare with illustrations by HyeKyung Baek – Manga fans will be happy to know that there are plenty of manga adaptations as well, including adaptations of Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices trilogy. The trilogy is a prequel to her Mortal Instruments series of books (which is now also a TV show), but it also works as a standalone story, set on the supernatural side of Victorian London. Baek has done a nice job of realizing an environment that is both historical and fantastical. This one is sure to be a hit with existing fans of Clare’s work and those who are frequent manga readers.
Maximum Ride by NaRae Lee adapted from James Patterson’s books – This is another one for any manga lovers you know. NaRae Lee has adapted James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series as a manga that offers a visual take on these stories. Fans will love to see Max and her flock of friends in flight and will enjoy how Lee conveys the action inherent in the stories. So far, Lee has illustrated nine volumes of the series and more are expected, so this is a great option for readers who enjoy long series.
Hopefully you’ll find a new favorite on this list, but there are also plenty of new options coming out soon. Emily Carroll is currently working on an adaptation of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and Margaret Atwood is working with artist Renee Nault on an adaptation of her classic, The Handmaid’s Tale. If you prefer movie adaptations, Amber Benson (yes, Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Sarah Kuhn are working on an adaptation of Clueless with art by Siobhan Keenan. If you know of any other current or forthcoming adaptations, let us know in the comments!
– Carli Spina, currently reading The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui