Graphic Classics Volume 18: Louisa May Alcott
This book contains a very abridged version of Little Women (both parts). This volume also contains some of Louisa's gothic and horror stories as well as poems and moral tales for children. It's an odd mix but I suppose as a sampler of Louisa's writing it may be interesting to teens.This volume was not at all my thing. The best part that saves this from being a total dud is that it uses some of Louisa's actual prose!
"Little Women", adapted for comics by Trina Robbins and illustrated by Anne Timmons is pretty thin. It skips a LOT of the plot, including Jo's hasty temper and Marmee's wise counsel, in favor of the romance and drama. yuck. T I did like how the adaptor used Louisa's own words to tell the story. The illustrations are dreadful-more mid-20th century than 19th.
"The Rival Prima Donnas, by Rod Lott and Molly Crabapple, is one of my favorite of Louisa's lesser known tales. It's dark and twisted but oh so good. Being Louisa, there IS a moral to the tale hidden in there somewhere: beauty and fame fade and love lasts forever. Also - don't kill anyone. The illustrations are weird and make the people look like creepy dolls.
"Buzz" adapted by Tom Pomplun with art by Mary Fleener is an odd little story I've never read before about Louisa's friendship with a fly. It's strange but it fits Louisa. Is this part of a larger work? The illustrations don't look like Louisa but they're halfway decent except when her face is in shadows.
"The Piggy Girl" adapted by Tom Pomplun and illustrations by Shary Flenniken is my favorite story in this collection. It's very much a moral tale for the young but not as didactic as some of her other stories. It's fun and funny. Too bad about the lame ending. The illustrations are cute and appropriate for a children's story.
"Lost in a Pyramid" by Alex Burrows and Pedro Lopez is a gothic horror story. The moral is don't mess with mummy's. I've never read this one before or it didn't stick out in my memory. It doesn't stand out from the other tales at all. The illustrations are creepy.
"The Lay of the Golden Goose" illustrated by Lisa K. Weber is by far the most important piece in this volume. It seems like a straightforward fairy tale like "The Ugly Duckling" but on closer inspection it's actually about Louisa and her writing. "rare birds have always been evoked from transcendental nests" says a lot about Louisa's feelings about herself and her family. It reveals how Louisa felt about her writing and the fame that followed. This is a great poem for understanding Louisa better. The illustrations are not my favorite but look like 19th century people.
Back to the gothic with "A Whisper in the Dark" by Antonella Caputo and Arnold Arre. At first it seems like a romance with a very saucy, willful young heroine. Digging deeper the dark tale actually reveals Louisa's proto-feminist side! She reveals thoughts on marriage (love only) and tossing women into insane asylums (men do it to get their hands on the woman's money). The plucky heroine grew on me but the drama in between was too much for me to want to read the whole thing. The illustrations are nice enough to be an animated TV show.
Comic books aren't really my thing. I was expecting a graphic novel of Little Women for young adults. This is worth perusing for some of the more rare gems and an insight into Louisa's mind but not worth looking at for literary or artistic merit.