Graphic Classics, Volume 22: African-American Classics

Overview

African-American Classics presents great stories and poems from America''s earliest Black writers, illustrated by contemporary African-American artists. Featured are "Two Americans" by Florence Lewis Bentley, "The Goophered Grapevine" by Charles W. Chesnutt, "Becky" by Jean Toomer, two short plays by Zora Neale Hurston, and six more tales of humor and tragedy. Also featured are eleven poems, including Langston Hughes'' "Danse Africaine" and "The Negro", plus Paul Laurence Dunbar''s "Sympathy" (''I know why the ...
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Overview

African-American Classics presents great stories and poems from America''s earliest Black writers, illustrated by contemporary African-American artists. Featured are "Two Americans" by Florence Lewis Bentley, "The Goophered Grapevine" by Charles W. Chesnutt, "Becky" by Jean Toomer, two short plays by Zora Neale Hurston, and six more tales of humor and tragedy. Also featured are eleven poems, including Langston Hughes'' "Danse Africaine" and "The Negro", plus Paul Laurence Dunbar''s "Sympathy" (''I know why the caged bird sings... '')
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Twenty-three works from a rich source of late 19th- and early 20th-century American literature get the graphic novel treatment in this wide-ranging anthology. Authors like W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, and Langston Hughes are represented, along with lesser-known but important African-American writers. Among the adapters are some artistic newcomers along with well-known comics figures like Kyle Baker (Nat Turner), whose version of Du Bois’s “On Being Crazy” is rich, inky and witty, and Jeremy Love (Bayou), who illustrates James Weldon Johnson’s poem “The Ghost of Deacon Brown.” The brutality of racism is depicted in stories that deal with lynching, like the WWI-era story “Two Americans” by Florence Lewis Bentley, which extols forgiveness, and the dark science fiction story “Lex Talionis” by Robert W. Bagnall, which explores the depths of hate and revenge. The energy of Hurston’s dialogue, written in early 20th-century Southern black dialect, is well matched by the illustrations by Arie Monroe and Milton Knight. A few pieces feel like filler, but overall the art in the anthology casts light on some gems of American literature, matching their gleam with sparkle of their own. (Jan.)
Library Journal
By turns elegant, tragic, and funny, these 23 full-color adaptations lay out a mosaic of stories and poems originally published between 1891 to 1931. The 17 featured African American writers include literary giants like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston; four contemporary writers adapted the lengthier works, and 23 contemporary African American artists produced the images. The collection opens with Florence Lewis Bentley's tragic war story "Two Americans," rendered in beautifully evocative realism by Trevor Von Eeden, and ends with Frances E.W. Harper's rather formulaic parable "Shalmanezer," much enhanced with original and simply lovely art by Lance Tooks. The selections in between dip into horror, satire, social commentary, revenge, parody, and edgy slapstick (especially in the one-upmanship of "Filling Station"). VERDICT All the selections are compelling and evocative owing to the successful partnership between the art and the text. This collection should be enjoyed by readers familiar with the originals as well as students and their elders, teen through adult, who may be new to African American writing of this period. Strongly recommended.—M.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780982563045
  • Publisher: Eureka Productions
  • Publication date: 1/3/2012
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 812,525
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 17, 2012

    I loved it!

    African-American Classics presents comics adaptations of great stories and poems by America's earliest black authors, illustrated by contemporary black artists. There are 24 works in all, plus biographical descriptions for authors and artists.

    This was my first introduction to graphic novels, and I loved it!

    The selection is outstanding. You'd think the wonderful cover by Afua Richardson (featuring W.E.B. du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, and Langston Hughes together on a bench at the train station) says it all, but that's just a tease. This book introduces authors whose names are not quite as familiar, such as Leila Amos Pendleton, whose "Sanctum 777 N.S.D.C.O.U. Meets Cleopatra" (adapted by Tom Pomplun and illustrated by Kevin J. Taylor) was among my favorites in the book. It is the perfect marriage of text and illustration.

    And the artwork...WOW! Such depth and range is on display here, from fine art to more traditional cartooning. There is something and someone new to discover here as each page is eagerly turned.

    The recommended age is 12 to adult, but I think the racial subject matter of the some of the stories would benefit from adult guidance. Then again, kids today are probably a lot more savvy about such things than an old-timer like me gives them credit for.

    There is something here for everybody and I think it will grab the attention even of the most reluctant reader. Highly recommended!

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