The Odyssey: adapted from the epic poem by Homer
Adapted by Thomas Roy and illustrated by Greg Tocchini
Get back to the classics! The Library now has graphic novel adaption of Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. The great bard’s exciting adventure lives on in a new format for a modern audience.
It can be difficult to plough through the original verse of the Odyssey and readers who have read the prose version or who like Greek or roman myths will particularly enjoy reading the graphic novel. Although more concise, Roy’s adaption remains faithful to the content of the original epic poem (would he dare to do otherwise?). The Odyssey graphic novel also features a section on what we know about Homer’s life and works.
What I have always enjoyed about reading classical literature was imagining the gods and mythical creatures. So the graphic novel format lends itself to these tales through the colourful illustrations of the Greek gods and specifically in The Odyssey, monsters. The Mediterranean countryside and architecture are also well illustrated. As expected, the illustrations depict the larger than life heroes as handsome and muscular and the women beautiful and curvaceous. Both wear clothing that shows off their attributes! Parents should be aware that The Odyssey contains adult themes.
Search the online catalogue on the Library’s website to check out our growing collection of classics in graphic novel format.
The Odyssey is a great story and I can see it would lend itself well to the graphic novel format. I can’t say I have really explored graphic novels but I seem to have heard more about them in recent times. Do you think they have increased in popularity or is it simply a case of more being published in this genre due to increases in online publishing and ebooks, and the popularity of gaming?
Are graphic novels popular in the library or still a niche market?
Graphic novels have been around for quite a long time, with so called ‘prototype’ graphic novels appearing as early as the 1920s! Launched in the 1940s, the magazine Classic Illustrated re-produced public domain novels were in comic book form. The book ‘Blackmark’, published in 1970 by Gil Kane and Archie Goodwin is considered to be the first true Graphic Novel, though that term would not appear until 1976. The story ran 119 pages and was told using art and word balloons, making the book a novel told in a graphical format.
Why have they become so popular? That is a very good question. I think that it may be a case of people being more aware of them, not just through public library collections, but through regular bookshops and department stores as well. Both DC and Marvel now make a habit of collecting their larger story arcs and classic issues into what used to be called ‘Trade Paperbacks’. These days, graphic adaptions of films and computer games are fairly standard as part of the larger promotional efforts as are graphic adaptions of popular print novels. The influx of Japanese animation (Anime) and it’s accompanying print form (Manga) may also have contributed. At Tea Tree Gully, approximately half of our graphic novel collection is Manga format. I would probably consider Graphic Novels to be a specialist collection, similar to the Spoken Word collection.
I hope that answers your questions.
PS: Maybe I should take this response and build on it for a regular Blog post…what do you think?
Thanks Stephen, I think this could make an interesting follow-up piece, especially if you include images (to show examples) and lists of the most popular titles at TTG Library.
I had no idea graphic novels had such a long history. As you say, perhaps they are becoming more mainstream now with their adaption into movies and TV (Walking Dead comes to mind)
Thanks for the information!