The Graphic Canon, Vol 1

From ancient times to the late 1700s


The Graphic Canon, Vol 1

From ancient times to the late 1700s

"It's easily the most ambitious and successfully realized literary project in recent memory, and certainly the one that's most relevant for today's readers." —NPR

The Graphic Canon: The World's Great Literature as Comics and Visuals

Volume 1: From The Epic of Gilgamesh to Shakespeare to Dangerous Liaisons

“Classic literature gets desterilized with the help of the modern world's most daring graphic artists.” —Kirkus Reviews

The Graphic Canon series presents the world's classic literature—from ancient times to the late twentieth century—as eye-popping comics, illustrations, and other visual forms. The first of the initial three volumes starts in antiquity—with the works of the Babylonians, Israelites, Greeks, and Romans—and winds through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and Shakespeare's day, ending with the Enlightenment in the late 1700s.

Works & authors include The Odyssey, Plato, Aeneid, Book of Revelation, Beowulf, The Tale of Genji, Arabian Nights, The Inferno, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Faeire Queene, King Lear, Paradise Lost, Gulliver’s Travels, Benjamin Franklin & dozens more

Artists include Robert Crumb, Will Eisner, Roberta Gregory, Rick Geary, Sharon Rudahl, Peter Kuper, Molly Crabapple, Gareth Hinds, Seymour Chwast, Andrice Arp, Hunt Emerson, Shawn Cheng, Rebecca Dart & dozens more

512 pages ~ 55 pieces ~ oversized softcover ~ full color throughout

"An exciting new benchmark for comics!"—Library Journal

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"In The Graphic Canon, the world’s literature is reimagined as comics and visual art, and with it the editor, Russ Kick, has struck a chord."
New York Times Sunday Book Review (Editor's Choice)

"One of the most ambitious [projects] in the history of the graphic medium.... The Graphic Canon continues to be an enrapturing experience... a vibrant, feverish dance through some of the best parts of our artistic history." —Paste magazine

“This is not only a survey of the world’s diverse artistic past, but also a breathtaking glimpse of this young medium’s incredible future."
Booklist (starred review)

“These three volumes are genuinely things of beauty—lush, gorgeous, dazzling visual recreations of the literary works we (at least of a certain generation) devoured.”—Counterpunch







Full Table of Contents


Editor’s Introduction

The Epic of Gilgamesh
art/adaptation by Kevin Dixon ~ rendition by Kent Dixon

“Coyote and the Pebbles”
Native American folktale
story by Dayton Edmonds ~ art by Micah Farritor

The Iliad
art/adaptation by Alice Duke

The Odyssey
art/adaptation by Gareth Hinds

Poem fragments
art/adaptation by Alessandro Bonaccorsi

Tao te Ching
Lao Tzu
adaptation by Fred Van Lente ~ art by Ryan Dunlavey

art/adaptation by Tori McKenna

art/adaptation and translation by Tania Schrag

The Symposium
art/adaptation by Yeji Yun

The Book of Esther
from the Hebrew Bible
art/adaptation and translation by J.T. Waldman

The Mahabharata
art/adaptation by Matt Wiegle

The Analects and Other Writings
adaptation by Fred Van Lente ~ art by Ryan Dunlavey

The Book of Daniel
from the Hebrew Bible
art/adaptation by Benjamin Frisch

On the Nature of Things
art/adaptation by Tom Biby and Jonathan Fetter-Vorm (aka, Two Fine Chaps)

The Aeneid
art/adaptation by Michael Lagocki

The Book of Revelation
from the New Testament
art/adaptation by Rick Geary

Three Tang poems
Wang Han, Cui Hu, and Li Bai
art/adaptation and translation by Sharon Rudahl

art/adaptation by Gareth Hinds

The Tale of Genji
Murasaki Shikibu
art/adaptation by Molly Kiely

The letters of Heloise and Abelard
art/adaptation by Ellen Lindner

"O nobilissima viriditas"
Hildegard of Bingen
art/adaptation by Molly Kiely

“The Fisherman and the Genie”
from The Arabian Nights
art/adaptation by Andrice Arp

“The Woman With Two Coyntes”
from The Arabian Nights
art/adaptation by Vicki Nerino

art/adaptation by Michael Green ~ translations by Coleman Barks

The Divine Comedy
Dante Alighieri
art/adaptation by Seymour Chwast

The Inferno
Dante Alighieri
art/adaptation by Hunt Emerson

The Tibetan Book of the Dead (Bardo Thodol)
Padmasambhava and Karma Lingpa
art/adaptation by Sanya Glisic

The Canterbury Tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
art/adaptation by Seymour Chwast

“The Last Ballad”
François Villon
art/adaptation by Julian Peters

Le Morte d’Arthur
Sir Thomas Malory
art/adaptation by Omaha Perez

Apu Ollantay
an Incan play
art/adaptation by Caroline Picard

Hagoromo (Celestial Feather Robe)
a Japanese Noh play
art/adaptation by Isabel Greenberg

Outlaws of the Water Margin
Shi Nai'an
illustrations by Shawn Cheng

Popol Vuh
sacred book of the Quiché Maya
art/adaptation by Roberta Gregory

The visions of St. Teresa of Ávila
from her autobiography
art/adaptation by Edie Fake

“Hot Sun, Cool Fire”
George Peele
art/adaptation by Dave Morice

Journey to the West
Wu Cheng’en
art/adaptation by Conor Hughes

The Faerie Queene
Edmund Spenser
adaptation by Michael Stanyer ~ art by Eric Johnson

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
William Shakespeare
art/adaptation by Maxx Kelly ~ lettering by Huxley King

King Lear
William Shakespeare
art/adaptation by Ian Pollock

Don Quixote
Miguel Cervantes
art/adaptation by Will Eisner

Sonnet 18
William Shakespeare
art/adaptation by Robert Berry with Josh Levitas

Sonnet 20
William Shakespeare
art/adaptation by Aidan Koch

“The Flea”
John Donne
art/adaptation by Noah Patrick Pfarr

“To His Coy Mistress”
Andrew Marvell
art/adaptation by Yien Yip

Paradise Lost
John Milton
art/adaptation by Rebecca Dart

“Forgive Us Our Trespasses”
Aphra Behn
art/adaptation by Alex Eckman-Lawn

Gulliver’s Travels
Jonathan Swift
art/adaptation by Gareth Hinds

“A Modest Proposal”
Jonathan Swift
art/adaptation by Peter Kuper

“Advice to a Young Man on the Choice of a Mistress”
Benjamin Franklin
painting by Cortney Skinner

illustrations by Ian Ball

London Journal
James Boswell
art/adaptation by Robert Crumb

“Letter to the Royal Academy of Brussels” (a/k/a, “Fart Proudly”)
Benjamin Franklin
art/adaptation by Stan Shaw

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
Mary Wollstonecraft
adaptation by Fred Van Lente ~ art by Ryan Dunlavey

Dangerous Liaisons
Choderlos de Laclos
illustrations by Molly Crabapple

Further Reading ~ Liz Byer


Credits & Permissions



Video flip-through

Video flip-through


Foreign Editions

Foreign Editions

Volume 1 has been published in France, Turkey, Germany, Poland, and Brazil. Publication is forthcoming in Bulgaria and Japan.