5 Awesome Book to Graphic Novel Adaptations

Sure, a lot of comic books have been made into movies, movies have been made into video games, manga has been made into anime… there is a lot of crossover. But what about incredible literature that has been illustrated and turned into a graphic novel? It’s like storybooks for grown ups! Here are the top 5 that currently reside in my novels to graphic novels collection.

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A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel

While A Game of Thrones is one of those incredible series that are equally as awesome in book AND television form, you should add a third “awesome” to this list: the graphic novel. As a  book that is full of dynamic character interactions and compelling dialogue, breathtaking environments and beautiful costume design, it is a perfect transition onto the pages of a comic. If you don’t get enough of the TV show, you should pick up the graphic novel – it goes chapter by chapter through the novel and is a pretty honest adaptation. As someone who has read the book, graphic novel, and watched the show, I HIGHLY recommend this.

 

 

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Dracula

This adaptation of the horror classic is incredible. It’s atmospheric with full color art that has a 70s vibe, which I feel perfectly encapsulates the style that Dracula deserves. The presentation of the characters from the novels is dead on – exactly how one would picture them in their heads upon reading the original book. Bram Stoker would be proud.

 

 

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Pride & Prejudice

Jane Austen’s classic tale of love and status is brought to life with this gorgeously illustrated Marvel classic graphic novel. As a rabid Austen fan I read this graphic novel with a grain of salt and now it is dog eared and oftentimes off my shelf. It is truthfully condensed down into linear, beautiful story telling with lush art and beautiful character design. I’d love to see ALL of Austen’s classics translated into comic form.

 

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Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter

I actually read the Anita Blake comic books before I read the novels, and I will admit they are an entirely guilty pleasure. Anita Blake is what Twilight would be if it was actually good–it’s rife with mythical creatures, sexual tension, and cliche characters. The art in the graphic novels oftentimes reminds me of 1990s X-Men. It’s everything a vampire graphic novel should be.

 

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A Wrinkle in Time

This beloved childhood classic comes to life with Hope Larson’s vibrant, youthful art. Follow these familiar characters through the graphic novel pages as they fight the darkness to save the entire universe. I HIGHLY recommend this be on everyone’s shelf.

 


Molly McIsaac has spent the entirety of her life with her nose in a comic book or a novel. You can follow her bizarre adventures on twitter or at her personal blog The Geeky Peacock.

Comments

  1. ososnilknarf ososnilknarf says:

    What about Parker?

  2. JokersNuts JokersNuts says:

    Totally agree about Game of Thrones! I am a huge Song of Ice and Fire fanboy and I love how this adaptation takes its time to include almost everything from the books. It’s great.

    • ragcage ragcage says:

      I would love to check it out, I’m also looking forward to the tv-series, but I want to read the novels even more. When i get some more free time I’ll be getting Game of Thrones in a nice hardcover and after i read all Song of Ice and Fire books I’ll check out the adaptions.

  3. Edo Edo says:

    What about The Dark Tower? A series of miniseries that is really close to the original books, and with great artists on it (Jae Lee, Alex Maleev, Sean Philips).

    • Grandturk says:

      I never finished the books – but wasn’t the graphic series never fully accounted for in the books – i.e. extra material created from implied/partial events/flashbacks etc. from the books?

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      But don’t those fill in blanks that don’t appear in actual books? If so it’s not really an adaptation, more of an extension of the novel series.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      @greadturk: Beat me to it…

    • Edo Edo says:

      The first graphic novels were set between the books. The graphic novels that are now being published are an adaptation of the first novel.

  4. ragcage ragcage says:

    What Edo said, and what about some of the Marvel Illustrated books, I’ve read a couple and they’re not half bad.

  5. farceur318 says:

    With all of the love this site threw at Ramon Perez during its publication, I thought for sure that Marvel’s adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough’s John Carter: The Gods of Mars was going to be at the top of this list.

  6. Cronin Cronin says:

    The Game of Thrones adaptation made me uncomfortable. The characters are drawn to look like Disney animation, but their actions are decidedly more X rated… Maybe I’m a prude.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      I actually think the graphic novel characters look much more how I pictured the characters when I read the book than the HBO characters do.

    • Cronin Cronin says:

      I imagined the characters in the novel to be much more homely than they are in either the comic or the show, with exception of a few Lannisters, Targaryens, and others that are explicitly said to be beautiful. While the comic has its advantages when it comes to matching the novels descriptions of a character’s size, resemblance to another, etc. The art is too cheesecakey for my tastes, but I’m glad people like it. It actually reminded me of Grant Morrison’s rant in “Supergods” about comic book characters being drawn to look like silicon sex dolls.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      I agree they are a little too good looking in the comic; I actually think the show did a great job of not playing up their “beauty” too much. My main complaint with the show is all the characters are much older than they should be. I understand why it was done but that’s why I like the representations in the comics a little more.

  7. BC1 BC1 says:

    Don’t forget the Oz books from Shanower and Young! Very faithful to the original and beautifully illustrated.

  8. I’m hoping Parker is just an oversight. Should be number 1 with a bullet.

  9. eh…I’m not a big fan of the Pride and Prejudice comic. It should have worked, but the interior art just turned me off. Part of the problem was the coloring. All the girls looked way too painted up. The other problem is that the cover art is basically perfect, so when you open the book and it’s a lot less than perfect, well, it’s at least disappointing.

  10. USPUNX USPUNX says:

    Let’s all remember this column is personal opinion. If 10 people did their top 5 books to graphic novels we’d get 10 different #1′s. Some people would put Parker at #1, some would leave him off the list entirely. It also sounds like Molly has read both the novels and the graphic novels for the five she selected so maybe she just hasn’t read the Parker novels, and therefore didn’t want to include it on this list.

    I’m also assuming that everyone calling for Parker have read BOTH the novels and graphic novels. Because if not, how would you know they’re great adaptations?

  11. koryrosh koryrosh says:

    Don’t forget Mazzucchelli’s adaptation of Paul Auster’s City of Glass – an amazing story made even more amazing (literally!)

  12. No City of Glass? That adaptation is somehow even better than the original story! All due respect, this list is wack.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      City of Glass is a short story, maybe a novella depending how technical you want to get, not a full length novel. This article seems to be focusing on novels turned into graphic novels.

  13. This list definitely needs the Parker bookes from Darwyn Cooke and Shonower and Young’s Oz books.

  14. IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

    Pretty surprised Molly put “Game of Thrones” on here. I have mixed opinions on Marvel Illustrated comics. The Dark Tower books are kinda hit-or-miss to me (my favorites are usually the ones that cover new ground), I hated the first Ender’s Game graphic novel pretty much because of the art and tone, but The Stand I thought was really well done. I’m not sure what company did “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” but except for the art that was another I enjoyed.

  15. JeffromOhio JeffromOhio says:

    Mignola and Chaykin’s “Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser” adaptations are among my very favorite book-to-comic efforts. The team managed to translate Fritz Leiber’s very distinctive prose into visual terms, and captured the essence of The Twain.They also manage to evoke the atmosphere of Lankhmar, the City of Seven-Score Thousand Smokes, which is as much a character as either of the titular heroes. Mignola’s work is evocatively baroque, Chaykin’s writing is spare, yet dreamy.

    This may be something of a cheat, but I’ll also cite the Roy Thomas/John Buscema run on “Conan the Barbarian,” especially now that Dark Horse has collected them. I know that Barry Windsor-Smith has a strong following, but Buscema’s take on the Cimmerian is as iconic, to me, as that of Frazetta. Thomas also managed to make Conan distinctly his own, while still respecting and revering Robert E. Howard’s work. To keep it more about graphic novels than just a run on a comic, I’ll name The Chronicles of Conan, Volume 12, that Dark Horse published. It collects together the “Queen of the Black Coast” storyline, and is pretty much the apex of the Thomas/Buscema collaboration.

    • Grandturk says:

      YES! How could I have forgotten Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser! Dynamite! Really great work. Gotta pull that down from my shelf and read it again. Good call.

  16. optic00085 optic00085 says:

    Glad to hear the Jane Austin adaptations are worthwhile, I was just asking about those on twitter, but no response.

    They all have fantastic artists working on them!

  17. ellerbach says:

    Steve Niles’ “I Am Legend” adaptation is terrific. Dark, “realistic” and more interested in being true to the source material than in turning it into a conventional comic book.

  18. The Roy Thomas/ Dick Giordano Dracula is in Black and White.