The “Graphic Classics” series by Eureka Productions could be interpreted in several ways, depending on your perspective. This series takes a theme such as horror, adventure or O. Henry stories and compiles a collection of short stories. The stories are revised into comic art by a variety of illustrators and adapters.
One could consider them Cliff’s Notes for those who favor visual stimulation when reading. Along this line, others might consider them great supplements to an English class to provide another interpretation on a work or help students who are more visually inclined to better comprehend the story. Yet others see these renditions as an equal representation of the story, since they follow the story closely and do not artistically stray from the plot. They don’t add words or impose interpretation on the piece but merely deliver it in a new format. These pieces are straightforward and a mere reflection of the original writing. In the dialogue of comics as its own art form, some would argue that this is in part a failure or a lacking attribute of these graphic novels. Just as it is rare for a movie to resemble the book (or comic book) it is based upon, so should comics not choose to replicate other media but rather reinterpret the work for the medium of comic books.
Each argument has its merits, but regardless, these graphic novels prove entertaining and well done. With a full staff of illustrators, no two stories in the same graphic novel are sketched by the same person. Each graphic novel contains twelve to thirteen pieces; that means readers are exposed to a dozen or more artistic styles. This should be remembered so that if a reader tires of one story, they can easily switch to one of the other stories - though with the longest of stories lasting upwards of thirty pages, one can make it through any story in a short period of time.
In Horror Classics, readers enjoy twelve haunting tales from master storytellers including Edgar Alan Poe (“Some Words With a Mummy”), H. P. Lovecraft (“The Thing On The Doorstep”), Honore de Balzac (“The Thing at Ghent”), Jack London (“Keesh”, “Son of Keesh”), and W. W. Jacobs (“The Monkey’s Paw”). Of course, the O. Henry volume features mostly pieces by O.Henry (except for two stories dedicated to him) including two popular stories, “The Ransom of Red Chief”and “The Gift of the Magi.” Adventures Classics spins tales from writers such as Alexander Dumas (“The Masked Ball”), Zane Grey (“Tigre”), Rudyard Kipling (“Gunga Din”), and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (“The Crime of the Brigadeer”).
Each classic collection includes lesser-known writers whose tales fit in perfectly to these anthologies. It works nicely, since one’s unfamiliarity with those writers will broaden their horizons to other classic texts in the genre.
The styles run the gamut from heavy line-laden sketches to simplistic cartoon representation and everything between, but the art usually works well with each story’s tone and mood. While it should be noted that many of these stories are overloaded with text, others manage quite effectively with only a fair amount. However, the text used carries the plot and properly navigates the story towards its original form.
As said, these stories might not be for everyone. Some people prefer artistic interpretation and deviance from the original tale, especially in the context of blending art and word. But there’s something to say about providing stories as close to their original context as possible, and these graphic novels do that quite well.