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« Do Graphic Androids Dream of Cartoon Sheep? The Wild Things Excerpt »

News Mon Aug 17 2009

The Illustrated Man & the Plot to Save the Literary World

Speaking of Ray Bradbury (and really, when am I not?), publisher Macmillan has a video on their website of the author discussing the graphic novel adaptation of Fahrenheit 451. He calls himself "The Illustrated Man," which is so wonderfully fitting here, and reveals that two more of his most famous novels - Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Martian Chronicles - are slated to receive the graphic novel treatment in the near future.

In other news, this reviewer at Slate doesn't seem to think too highly of the new Fahrenheit 451, saying that the graphic novel "reads like a joke" and that it is ironic that a novel about book burning has now become a shortened version of itself. Now, I'd be the first person to jump up and defend a watering down of any book, especially when it comes to my beloved Bradbury, so I do think the reviewer missed the point here. To say that this is a contribution to the end of print is to say, essentially, that graphic novels are a detriment to literature and I just don't believe that to be true. Nor does Mr. Bradbury, if you recall this post here. It's simply a different medium, one not comparable to the picture stories of the original novel that were created so that no one would have to read the news, a comparison that this reviewer makes. "It's hard to know what on earth Bradbury was thinking. Did he just give in to the enemy?" the reviewer asks. "Is Bradbury saying that it's back to pictographs to save the literary world?" What's hard to know is just where the disdain for the comic form comes from for this reviewer, but I'd venture to say that for Bradbury, as it is for all of his fans, this is really just another way to experience the novel, not a replacement for it, nor a "giving in" to an illiterate enemy nor a plot to "save the literary world." But that's just my opinion, that of a lover of literature who loves her graphic novels, too.

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