Ayn Rand's Anthem: The Graphic Novel

Ayn Rand's Anthem: The Graphic Novel

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by Charles Santino, Joe Staton, Ayn Rand

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The controversial classic work of one individual's will versus the subjugation of society-now available as a compelling graphic novel.

In all that was left of humanity there was only one man who dared to think, seek, and love. He, Equality 7-2521, would place his life in jeopardy. For his knowledge was regarded as a treacherous blasphemy. He had…  See more details below


The controversial classic work of one individual's will versus the subjugation of society-now available as a compelling graphic novel.

In all that was left of humanity there was only one man who dared to think, seek, and love. He, Equality 7-2521, would place his life in jeopardy. For his knowledge was regarded as a treacherous blasphemy. He had rediscovered the lost and holy word..."I".

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a future where misguided egalitarianism has reduced a once-vibrant civilization to a handful of doctrinaire serfs living in the rubble of what once was, Equality 7-2521 rejects the mindless collectivism of his people to embrace individuality. His curiosity about the mysteries of the past is anathema to those selected to rule; Equality's rejection of his assigned menial role is if anything an even greater affront to his master. Forced by the lesser men around him to flee, Equality and his lover, Liberty 5-3000, find refuge in a conveniently preserved chalet, free to rediscover eternal truths suppressed by their totalitarian forefathers. Adapted from Rand's 1938 novella, Staton's art is oddly crude for such a veteran artist, but oddly well suited for Rand's clumsy, hectoring story. The product of a time when authoritarian regimes seemed destined to prevail, written by a refugee from the Russian revolution, Anthem might have been a valuable reminder of what happens when ideology trumps humanitarian concerns, but sadly, Rand was not up to the task; Santino and Staton do what they can with this dismal tribute to egotism, but the result is still a hard slog. (Feb.)
VOYA - Judith A. Hayn
Rand's dystopian novella Anthem was first published in 1937. This edition uses graphic-novel format to reveal Rand's vision of some future world called Anthem, where the evils of socialism reign. The concept of individuality has been eradicated until the protagonist, Equality 7-2521, discovers an underground house abandoned years ago. Hiding there, he writes his account of the elimination of the word "I" as he, like Prometheus, experiments with electricity to bring light back to the world. Equality works for the Home of the Street Sweepers even though he has demonstrated scholarly qualities early in life. One day when working outside the city, he meets a young woman, Liberty 5-3000, who has followed him, and they connect as soul mates. Equality is punished for refusing to reveal his underground location after breaking curfew. When he escapes and tries to present his discovery of electricity to the World of Scholars, they threaten to destroy his invention. Instead he flees to the Uncharted Forest, where he reunites with Liberty, whom he calls the Golden One and later Gaea, the earth mother of myth. She joins him in the house, and they begin to develop an understanding of the importance of society and their place in it as individuals. The word "EGO" is carved by the door of the house where they live. As with other Rand works, the concept of socialism/communism, which emphasizes equality, is contrasted with capitalism, which values individual achievement. The graphic novel is a credible adaptation and simplification of her futuristic allegory. High school students often become fascinated by Rand's dark approach to her world, and this text provides an accessible venue for one of her shorter works. Reviewer: Judith A. Hayn
Library Journal
In a letter to Walt Disney, the controversial, radically individualist Rand (The Fountainhead; Atlas Shrugged) wrote that if a film were made of her dystopian parable Anthem (1938, revised 1946), she would prefer it to be done "in stylized drawings, rather than with living actors." She gets her wish, sort of, in this graphic adaptation. In a future society so collectivist that its language has no first-person singular pronoun and so primitive that it only recently began using candles, street sweeper Equality 7-2521 begins sneaking away at night to pursue his forbidden scientific ambitions and discovers not only an ancient technological secret but also the value of independence. With the girl Liberty 5-3000, he also discovers love. VERDICT Santino relates the story in the present tense, robbing some of its mythic feel. Staton's unvarying three-panel page layouts fail to emphasize the story's more dramatic moments, and his cartoony style (with monochrome art rendered in uninked, sometimes sketchy pencils) fails to match Rand's fierce and poetic language. This short Anthem is hardly forbidding as a literary work—readers should stick with the original.—S.R.
Kirkus Reviews

A graphic novel for devotees of Ayn Rand.

With its men who have become gods through rugged individualism, the fiction of Ayn Rand has consistently had something of a comic strip spirit to it. So the mating of Rand and graphic narrative would seem to be long overdue, with her 1938 novella better suited to a quick read than later, more popular work such asThe Fountainhead (1943) and the epic Atlas Shrugged (1957). AsAnthemshows, well before the Cold War (or even World War II), Rand was railing against the evils of any sort of collectivism and the stifling of individualism, warning that this represented a return to the Dark Ages. Here, her allegory hammers the point home. It takes place in the indeterminate future, a period after "the Great Rebirth" marked an end of "the Unmentionable Times." Now people have numbers as names and speak of themselves as "we," with no concept of "I." The hero, drawn to stereotypical, flowing-maned effect by illustrator Staton, knows himself as Equality 7-2521 and knows that "it is evil to be superior." A street sweeper, he stumbles upon the entrance to a tunnel, where he discovers evidence of scientific advancement, from a time when "men knew secrets that we have lost." He inevitably finds a nubile mate. He calls her "the Golden One." She calls him "the Unconquered." Their love, of course, is forbidden, and not just because she is 17. After his attempt to play Prometheus, bringing light to a society that prefers the dark, the two escape to the "uncharted forest," where they are Adam and Eve. "I have my mind. I shall live my own truth," he proclaims, having belatedly discovered the first-person singular. The straightforward script penned by Santino betrays no hint of tongue-in-cheek irony.

A Rand primer with pictures.

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Meet the Author

Ayn Rand was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 2, 1905. At age six she taught herself to read and two years later discovered her first fictional hero in a French magazine for children, thus capturing the heroic vision which sustained her throughout her life. At the age of nine she decided to make fiction writing her career. Thoroughly opposed to the mysticism and collectivism of Russian culture, she thought of herself as a European writer, especially after encountering Victor Hugo, the writer she most admired.

During her high school years, she was eyewitness to both the Kerensky Revolution, which she supported, and—in 1917—the Bolshevik Revolution, which she denounced from the outset. In order to escape the fighting, her family went to the Crimea, where she finished high school. The final Communist victory brought the confiscation of her father's pharmacy and periods of near-starvation. When introduced to American history in her last year of high school, she immediately took America as her model of what a nation of free men could be.

When her family returned from the Crimea, she entered the University of Petrograd to study philosophy and history. Graduating in 1924, she experienced the disintegration of free inquiry and the takeover of the university by communist thugs. Amidst the increasingly gray life, her one great pleasure was Western films and plays. Long an admirer of cinema, she entered the State Institute for Cinema Arts in 1924 to study screenwriting.

In late 1925 she obtained permission to leave Soviet Russia for a visit to relatives in the United States. Although she told Soviet authorities that her visit would be short, she was determined never to return to Russia. She arrived in New York City in February 1926. She spent the next six months with her relatives in Chicago, obtained an extension to her visa, and then left for Hollywood to pursue a career as a screenwriter.

On Ayn Rand's second day in Hollywood, Cecil B. DeMille saw her standing at the gate of his studio, offered her a ride to the set of his movie The King of Kings, and gave her a job, first as an extra, then as a script reader. During the next week at the studio, she met an actor, Frank O'Connor, whom she married in 1929; they were married until his death fifty years later.

After struggling for several years at various nonwriting jobs, including one in the wardrobe department at the RKO Radio Pictures, Inc., she sold her first screenplay, "Red Pawn," to Universal Pictures in 1932 and saw her first stage play, Night of January 16th, produced in Hollywood and then on Broadway. Her first novel, We the Living, was completed in 1934 but was rejected by numerous publishers, until The Macmillan Company in the United States and Cassells and Company in England published the book in 1936. The most autobiographical of her novels, it was based on her years under Soviet tyranny.

She began writing The Fountainhead in 1935. In the character of the architect Howard Roark, she presented for the first time the kind of hero whose depiction was the chief goal of her writing: the ideal man, man as "he could be and ought to be." The Fountainhead was rejected by twelve publishers but finally accepted by the Bobbs-Merrill Company. When published in 1943, it made history by becoming a best seller through word-of-mouth two years later, and gained for its author lasting recognition as a champion of individualism.

Ayn Rand returned to Hollywood in late 1943 to write the screenplay for The Fountainhead, but wartime restrictions delayed production until 1948. Working part time as a screenwriter for Hal Wallis Productions, she began her major novel, Atlas Shrugged, in 1946. In 1951 she moved back to New York City and devoted herself full time to the completion of Atlas Shrugged.

Published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged was her greatest achievement and last work of fiction. In this novel she dramatized her unique philosophy in an intellectual mystery story that integrated ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, economics and sex. Although she considered herself primarily a fiction writer, she realized that in order to create heroic fictional characters, she had to identify the philosophic principles which make such individuals possible.

Thereafter, Ayn Rand wrote and lectured on her philosophy—Objectivism, which she characterized as "a philosophy for living on earth.". She published and edited her own periodicals from 1962 to 1976, her essays providing much of the material for six books on Objectivism and its application to the culture. Ayn Rand died on March 6, 1982, in her New York City apartment.

Every book by Ayn Rand published in her lifetime is still in print, and hundreds of thousands of copies are sold each year, so far totalling more than twenty million. Several new volumes have been published posthumously. Her vision of man and her philosophy for living on earth have changed the lives of thousands of readers and launched a philosophic movement with a growing impact on American culture.

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Ayn Rand's Anthem: The Graphic Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anthem is a really good book. If you like adventures books then this one is a book for you. It has a lot of action and law breaking. It has a great story line. Also this book isn't very long so it would be a great book to read in a reading class for school.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago