Library Journal: “The trilogy should occupy a prominent place in all adult graphic novel collections”

Panels from Japanese Noh play Hagoromo (Celestial Feather Robe), adapted by Isabel Greenberg

Martha Cornog, who previewed Volume 1 earlier this year, published this full review on Library Journal

This lavish collection spanning four millennia includes 190 literary adaptations organized into three volumes. Besides the expected choices, this first volume’s culturally diverse works include a pre-Columbian Incan play, Tang Dynasty verses, a Japanese Noh play, Rumi poetry, and an ingeniously rendered sliver of the Mahabharata. Most of the selections are modest-sized abridgements or excerpts, 80 percent new material and the rest reprints. Quality and artistry all convey the unique flavors of the originals, although not all will appeal to everyone. Perhaps Kick’s visual banquet is best appreciated as a seductive howdy-do that could send readers to the originals, or to a longer graphic version. The set also makes an inspiring sampler of graphic innovation for art students and those interested in the comics format.VERDICT The trilogy should occupy a prominent place in all adult graphic novel collections. Note that a few selections (e.g., Lysistrata) are sexually explicit, and high school libraries should carefully evaluate suitability. Perhaps Kick’s project will spur substantive quality adaptations of many more literary works, which would further benefit libraries and classrooms.—M.C.

Thanks, Martha!