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H.G. Wells
edited by Tom Pomplun
Eureka Productions, 144 pages

H.G. Wells
Graphic Classics
Graphic Classics is a series of books presenting great fiction in comics and illustration for contemporary readers of all ages. Each issue features the works of one great author, illustrated by some of the best artists working today in the fields of comics, illustration and fine arts.

Graphic Classics
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A review by Susan Dunman

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At the top of the Graphic Classics website appears a very appropriate quote by Mark Twain. "A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read." Fortunately for today's readers, editor Tom Pomplun and his contingent of talented writers and artists break the curse surrounding "classic" tomes, giving readers an enjoyable abridgement and depiction of works by noted authors that are a pleasure to experience.

The latest release from Graphic Classics is a newly revised, second edition of selected works by H.G. Wells. There are all-new comics adaptations of The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The Inexperienced Ghost, as well as other stories which did not appear in the first edition.

For those familiar with H.G. Wells, reading these adaptations is like meeting an old friend over coffee. The conversation is not too long, but long enough to exchange pleasantries and rekindle memories of past encounters. And for those who aren't familiar with Wells' writing, this graphic novel serves as an excellent introduction to some of his best-known and not so well-known works.

Of course, there are some stories that will jump right out at readers, such as The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds. Of these three, The Time Machine was my favorite. The concise adaptation retains the main points of the story and the illustrations have both a Victorian feel and a dark, somewhat vague quality which effectively depicts the time traveler's memories of an unbelievable future for humanity.

The War of the Worlds is another easily recognizable story and the telling of this adventure is enhanced by the decision to tell it in the context of the 1938 radio broadcast. This is an entertaining look at the unintended effects of a powerful story, emphasizing not only the power of the media, but also the power of a great storyteller.

Memory can be a real trickster and that was certainly the case with the very first offering in this collection. The Invisible Man was thoroughly engrossing because it made me realize I had completely forgotten the origins of this popular icon. Sometimes, between various movie and TV interpretations, it's easy to forget the "story behind the story." Which brings up another benefit of reading the Graphic Classics series -- it's a great memory prompt for titles you may not have read in a very long time.

Other, perhaps less well-know stories included in this collection include The Inexperienced Ghost, The Temptation of Harringay, La Mari Terrible, The Man with a Nose, and The Star. These stories offer an eclectic mix of humor, what-ifs, and "food for thought" pieces. Individual stories are adapted and illustrated by various artists, which gives the entire collection more appeal, as each tale reflects different styles and interpretations.

The editor has done a commendable job of bringing H.G. Wells to an audience that might not otherwise take the time to read his original works. Through these adaptations, Pomplun helps those of us who have previously read H.G. Wells to remember why Wells' imagination is timeless. And, for those who may not have even considered this author's work before, here's an opportunity to be "tempted" with a delicious slice of literature that may encourage further literary explorations.

Copyright © 2005 Susan Dunman

Susan became a librarian many light years ago and has been reviewing books ever since. Audiobooks and graphic novels have expanded her quest to find the best science fiction in Libraryland.


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