Great Expectations – The Comic Book?

Linda, Molly and I have discussed recently whether anyone reads anymore. Certainly they do, but we’ve agreed it’s not in the same way that people used to. There’s something to be said about the quick fix read – the thriller or romance novel you can read on the beach, or during your commute on the metro. And yet those rarely tend to be the favorites, the remembered, the cherished, at least for very long. There is a sense of reward, of camaraderie with the story, that comes with delving into a complex and challenging text.
This brings to mind a trend I’ve seen lately in bookstores. Many publishers are putting out classic texts – Great Expectations, Moby Dick, even the American Constitution – in graphic novel form. I for one immensely enjoy narratives that originate in graphic form. There is some exciting work being done both artistically and narratively in that genre. However, to use the graphic narrative as a way to simplify and add drawings to a text that has so much to offer on its own is a crime. Blending genres can often be a fun and creative way to convey a story or idea, but most of these comic book classics seem to be nothing more than the picture book version of their celebrated originals. What good did anyone really get out of skimming the cliff notes?