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Posted February 17, 2012
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!