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Puffin Graphics: Red Badge of Courage


Young Henry Fleming had always dreamed of performing heroic deedsin battle. But as a raw recruit in the Civil War, Henry experiences fear and self-doubt. Will war make him a coward, or a hero? Artist Wayne Vansant faithfully illustrates Stephen Crane's action-packed tour de force.

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Young Henry Fleming had always dreamed of performing heroic deedsin battle. But as a raw recruit in the Civil War, Henry experiences fear and self-doubt. Will war make him a coward, or a hero? Artist Wayne Vansant faithfully illustrates Stephen Crane's action-packed tour de force.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This 1895 tale of young soldier Henry Fleming's initial experiences in combat during the Civil War still startles. Artist Vansant captures Fleming's uncertainty and fear quite well, sometimes through effectively understated facial expressions. Yet this adaptation oversimplifies Crane's portrayal of Fleming, ignoring or de-emphasizing the character's other failings: his egotism, his talent for self-justification and the "wild battle madness" underlying much of his later heroism. In Crane's book, Fleming is haunted by his desertion of the dying "tattered man"; in Vansant's version, Fleming forgets him. Though Crane's book is a landmark in realism, the author's symbolic writing turned Fleming's battlefield into a mythic realm. Vansant's conventionally realistic artwork, on the other hand, is more prosaic than Crane's brilliantly descriptive captions. This adaptation faithfully introduces the plot, characters and primary themes of Red Badge to readers unfamiliar with the original book without penetrating the full depths of Crane's masterwork. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Jumping on the graphic novel bandwagon, this series launches a line of graphic novels based on classics. The text of each of these first three offerings is true to the original work but abridged. Although the format can make literature more accessible, it can also, in some cases, lend an air of hipness to a work as well. Black Beauty is a children's classic, but the gorgeous, fluid, black-and-white drawings in this version make the story more appealing to an older crowd. Frankenstein lends itself best to the format. The stylized drawings covered with washes of grey add to the atmosphere of fright and horror about what the good doctor has wrought. Red Badge of Courage is the least appealing adaptation. Although Crane's writing is elegant, it can be daunting to a middle schooler unused to nineteenth-century turns of phrase. A graphic novel could have been just the thing to make this work more accessible; instead it somehow makes Crane's story more muddled. In fact his writing was apparently too uncomplicated for the editor of this GN because in a section telling how the work was adapted, readers are shown a variation of a battle sequence that is compact and true to Crane's writing. The editorial notes tell the artist to expand it by several pages. Overall these books are fun adaptations of great literature. The black-and-white art in all three is terrific, and keeping the original text ensures high quality stories. At the end of each book, there are sections titled "The Making of . . ." where the artist explains how she or he planned the breakdown of the story and how the art layout was determined. There are also galleries of alternate covers as well as early sketchesof the main characters. It is a nice look inside the process of adaptation and the creation of a graphic novel. The books would be a good choice for the library or media center both to grow a graphic novel collection and to bolster the literature collection. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J G (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Graphic Novel Format). 2005, Puffin, 176p., Trade pb. Ages 11 to 15.
—Geri Diorio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142404102
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/19/2005
  • Series: Puffin Graphic Classic
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.94 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Crane (1871–1900) was active as a reporter around the world in addition to being an acclaimed novelist.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 27, 2011

    A must read for history buffs

    The Red Badge of Courage
    A story of a child becoming a man, its a great story about a young lad who faces his fears and learns to be courageous and face his fears. Henry is the main character in the book and decides to join the military because he has always dreamed of the bloody battlefields and the thrill. but Henry gets another thing coming when he realizes that that's not how the actual battlefield is and that it is really a bloody gory place that shouldn't be idolized. Henry Runs from his battle but because he runs he goes on a life changing experience that will change both his body and mind and will permanently change him. He learns to be a man and face his fears. He fights the rest of the war with great valor and exhibits courage and ferocity like every other man there was on the battlefield perhaps even greater. you need to read this fantastic and amazing novel by Stephen Crane, because It is definitely a great book everyone will love and is especially a good book for those young kids who are becoming young men. A great read for all who care about the civil war and those who are just plain old avid readers who care about reading. In the book there is a size-able amount of action and even some drama that is going on and it will definitely make history buffs not be able to stop reading and turning the page. Even though this book is fictional it will blow your mind with the vivid detail Stephen Crane uses in his novel. I highly recommend the book because i loved it and it truly made me think being i myself am i young man and this book truly did inspire me to face my fears, it inspired me to be courageous and to never back down too. if you are a father I recommend buying this book for your son or even for yourself. i know i probably sound repetitive by now but the theme in the story is great and so are the characters and the morale it will teach you is a great morale we should all abide by everyday. A great read you just have to buy, and i promise you that you will not regret the decision of buying it because the book is phenomenal!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2011

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