11 Classic Books Adapted as Graphic Novels

Amazon / Amazon

Reading is a joy for many, but it can be daunting to crack open a centuries-old classic and have to deal with the archaic language and dense text within. This is especially true for younger readers. For anyone looking for a more palatable way to enjoy these timeless works of literature, plenty of them have been adapted as graphic novels (or comic books, if you will) over the years. These versions bring new energy and eye-popping artwork to well-worn stories—and even if you're familiar with the original text, you might even find yourself with a brand-new perspective on them. Here are 11 of our favorites.

1. A Wrinkle In Time // Madeleine L'Engle and Hope Larson; $13

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The tale of Meg Murry, Charles Wallace Murry, and Calvin O’Keefe was adapted into an Eisner Award-winning graphic novel by cartoonist Hope Larson (Batgirl) back in 2012. Although abridged, Larson's vivid, dreamlike illustrations help maintain the true spirit of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, while adding her own distinct flavor through the artwork. Even if you've already read the original novel more times than you can count, this version will offer a new perspective on this seminal story.

2. The Odyssey // Homer and Gareth Hinds; $15


King Odysseus's long journey home after the Trojan War has been reimagined countless times, yet artist and writer Gareth Hinds managed to find a new way to bring this epic to life as a comic book. The clashes with Poseidon and his cyclops son, Polyphemus, are all here, but they're accompanied by brilliant watercolor illustrations that are far easier for younger readers to follow than Homer's original epic poem. 

3. Jane // Charlotte Brontë, Aline Brosh McKenna, and Ramón K. Pérez; $25

BOOM! - Archaia

In 2017, screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) teamed up with Eisner Award-winning illustrator Ramón K. Pérez (Tale of Sand) to create this charming modern-day retelling of . In this version, Jane leaves her small town to go to art school in New York City, but she soon realizes that her dream isn’t as glamorous as she imagined. To afford the expensive city, she takes a job as a nanny for a little girl named Adele. When Jane falls in love with Adele’s father, she is introduced to the dark world of the city's elite and the secrets that lay in the shadow. McKenna's sharp script is perfectly paired with the lush colors and cartoony vibe of Pérez's artwork.

4. To Kill A Mockingbird // Harper Lee and Fred Fordham; $18


Everyone knows To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee's groundbreaking tale of a young girl named Scout and her brother, Jem, learning how to navigate their small town in Alabama, which is divided by race and class. During their journey, they learn hard truths about the law and how it differs from justice. Though the story is abridged, writer Fred Fordham uses Lee's original words and brilliantly moves the story along without any choppiness. He also illustrates the tale, balancing the joys of being a curious kid with the dark injustices that plague the world. This is perhaps the most accessible way to get a young kid invested in this story.

5. The Great Gatsby // F. Scott Key Fitzgerald, Fred Fordham, and Aya Morton; $17


This is another adaptation by writer Fred Fordham, who takes The Great Gatsby's cast of Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway, and Daisy Buchanan, and successfully brings them to a whole different medium. For this version, Fordham actually uses much of F. Scott Fitzgerald's original text, so fans of the book can see many of their favorite lines brought to life through Aya Morton's art. The soft watercolors at play lend themselves perfectly to the Jazz Age setting of the story, and at around 200 pages, the whole thing makes for a breezy, entertaining read.

6. Anne Frank's Diary // Anne Frank, Ari Folman and David Polonsky; $16


The duo of artist David Polonsky and writer Ari Folman is back with a haunting adaption of The Diary of a Young Girl. The pair previously won a ton of awards on their animated film Waltz with Bashir, and they're best known for bringing to light horrifying moments in human history and balancing them with expressive illustrations. Folman, who just finished an animated children's film about Anne Frank, weaves together quotes and moments from the definitive edition of the diary, highlighting the gravity and horrors of the world around her. Coupled with Polonsky's moving illustrations, this is a haunting, engaging take on a story everyone should read.

7. Animal Farm // George Orwell and Odyr; $13

Mariner Books/Amazon

When the demoralized animals of a farm decide to overthrow their master, a rebellion is born and a new society is formed. And while it seems like a utopia on its surface, corruption and greed soon pervert their original vision. Filled with bold artwork and simplified language by writer/illustrator Odyr, this take on George Orwell's Animal Farm maintains the vision and messaging of the original novel while making it more digestible for younger readers. 

8. Marvel Classics // Various; $92


This massive omnibus features around a dozen classic tales, all written and illustrated by some of Marvel's best talent from the '70s, like Uncanny X-Men visionary Chris Claremont, Doug Moench, and Bill Mantlo. The stories here are all reprints from Marvel Classics Comics, an ongoing series dedicated to combining timeless literature with the company's flashy comic book style. You'll find pop-art interpretations of The War of the Worlds, Ivanhoe, Treasure Island, The Odyssey, A Christmas Carol, and more.

9. Frankenstein // Mary Shelley and Gris Grimly; $18

Balzer + Bray/Amazon

Gris Grimly is a famed children's book author and artist known for his dark takes on famous fairy tales, and he's cited Frankenstein's monster as one of his biggest inspirations growing up. In this book, Grimly takes the basic story of Frankenstein—even using Mary Shelley's original text throughout—and mixes it with his signature gothic steampunk style. The result is part comic book, part prose novel that's both timeless and stylized by one visionary creator.

10. Pride and Prejudice // Jane Austen, Laurence Sach, and Rajesh Nagulakonda; $17


In this graphic novel version of Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen's Regency-era classic gets condensed into 100 pages or so, thanks to writer Laurence Sach and artist Rajesh Nagulakonda. Though Sach was able to simplify the dialogue and streamline the story of the Bennet girls, he does so without losing what makes the work so beloved by fans. And the whole thing is aided by Nagulakonda's lively illustrations, which bring a new energy to these characters. It's a great edition for new and old Austen fans alike.

11. The Hobbit // J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Dixon, and David Wenzel; $17

Del Rey/Amazon

Artist David Wenzel brings the world of J.R.R. Tolkien to life with vibrant colors and fantastical locales in this graphic novel of The Hobbit. Here, the look of Middle-earth is far more cartoony and whimsical than the more recent Peter Jackson interpretations, and writer Chuck Dixon's script sticks close to the source material. This edition is a re-issue of the original comic from 1989, with an updated cover and six new illustrated pages. It's a short read, coming in at just 133 pages, but it's true to The Hobbit's original spirit as a rollicking adventure for the kids.