Prather’s Pick: ‘Huck Finn’ delivered comic-book style
I found this week’s book at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries in a display celebrating comic books. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was written by Mark Twain in 1884, but this week’s book is intriguing, because it was written in comic-book style.
The book is one of the Graphic Classics Series, copyrighted by the Salariya Book Company Limited and published by Barron’s Educational Services, 2008. The book was retold by Tom Ratliff and illustrated by Penko Getev.
The graphic classic begins as the novel does: “You don’t know about me, without you have read a book by the name of ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’…”
These words are found on a two-page illustration of Huck Finn and Jim, floating along the Mississippi River on a raft.
Illustrations of 15 of the novel’s characters are featured on the next page; then, the novel begins with colored “frames” and dialogue in “bubbles,” characteristic of comic books. Huck and Tom had found some money, and since Huck was “practically an orphan,” Judge Thatcher kept Huck’s share for safekeeping. The Widow Douglas took Huck in, and her sister, Miss Watson, helped look after him. Tom Sawyer was always figuring out some kind of adventure and getting Huck involved. The reader also meets Jim, Miss Watson’s slave.
So now, Pap Finn finds out Huck has come into some money. He thinks the court will grant custody of Huck to Miss Watson, so he kidnaps the boy and keeps him locked up at night. Huck escapes and heads out on his own, meeting up with Jim and staying hidden. Then, the rest of the novel unfolds, with dialogue and summaries under each “frame.” There are footnotes, too.
Especially interesting are several pages of additional information about the Mississippi River and river boats, a short biography of Mark Twain (with pictures), and a list of other works by Twain, as well as film adaptations of “Huckleberry Finn” and films about Mark Twain.
Because the controversy over “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” began about a year after it was published, a page is devoted to a discussion of some of the reasons the book is banned in some schools.
This book is intended for middle- to high-school ages. Messages in the book are intended for adults, too, but I think this graphic novel format will be especially inviting to younger readers.
This week’s book is in hardcover, which costs $15.99. The book can also be found at the Craig Branch of Moffat County Libraries.
Stories enrich our lives. We tell them, listen to them, read them, repeat them, write them, watch them on TV, enjoy them in theaters. Stories teach us, entertain us, make us laugh, ease our social situations, and cement our friendships.