This illustrated presentation explores the intersection of “high art” literature and “low art” comic strips. Through the last century, many cartoonists have adapted classic novels and plays; Sikoryak will discuss the history of these reinterpretations, with more than 100 images from a century of comic strips, comic books, and graphic novels.
As a writer, illustrator, and life-long comics reader who specializes in retelling the classics, Sikoryak offers particular insights on how stories are shaped in this popular medium.
Adaptations of various authors are discussed, including Shakespeare, the Brontës, Dickens, Melville, and many more. These retellings are by turns respectful, hilarious, and revelatory. Some of the most famous attempts were made in the 1940s Classics Illustrated comic book series, but there have been many inventive and exhilarating comics adaptations published over the years. These show the wide range of visual styles and narrative strategies employed by cartoonists when they collaborate with a great author. The comic strip is a flexible and enlightening medium for reinterpreting the great books. A portion of its vast capabilities is revealed through this survey, which allows readers to see the possibilities in reinventing the classics in a contemporary form.
The lecture is accompanied by a visual slide show of over 100 comic illustrations (which can be presented in PowerPoint or Keynote). Sikoryak will also bring along archival samples in different formats: newspaper comic strips from the 1900–50s, comic books from the 1940–80s, and various graphic novels of the 1980s to the present. A printed handout or PDF of selected comics with a reading list is provided.