“African-American Classics” edited by Tom Pomplun (Graphic Classics, 2011)

African-American Classics

Graphic Classics is known for publishing some truly great graphic novels, adapting and collecting graphic tales of works from such renowned authors as Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce, Jack London, Mark Twain, H. G. Wells and H. P. Lovecraft to name a number of them . . . notice a certain characteristic in common with all these white men?  In their latest volume, number twenty-two, they have published one of their most important yet: African-American classics.

This illuminating collection features original works from Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, W. E. B. Du Bois, Claude McKay, James Weldon Johnson, and many more; adapted by various writers, and a number of different artists, bringing each individual tale to life and prominence.  What makes this collection even more enjoyable is that it is comprised of not just short stories, but also lots of poetry, breaking up the feel of back to back stories with entertainingly illustrated poetry as interpreted by the artist.

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of African-American Classics is that it features in most cases an all-black cast of characters, which I can say I haven’t seen before in any other graphic novel I’ve read.  Seeing black characters at all in graphic novels can be rare, but hopefully this collection will help to change this sad lacking in today’s comic books.

Originally written on December 30, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

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