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Fantasy Classics: Graphic Classics Volume 15 by Mary Shelley
Edited by Tom Pomplun
Cover Artist: Front: Skot Olsen; Back: Leong Wan Kok
Review by Gayle Surrette
Eureka Productions Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780978791933
Date: 01 March 2008 List Price $11.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Graphic Classics, as the name implies, adapts and illustrates some of the classics in their field. This time they focus on fantasy, though it seems to me fantasy with an edge of terror or horror. Included in this volume is Frankenstein, "Pappaccini's Daughter", and "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath" among others.

"After the Fire" is a short poem by Lord Dunsany about aliens coming to investigate a decimated earth. The illustrations by Rachel Masilamani are spindly and strange but for me didn't add to the poem, but it didn't work against it either.

Rod Lott then pens a prologue to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It's a short piece telling us how the book came to be written. The illustrations by Mark A. Nelson are wonderfully evocative of the dark and stormy night that would cause one to dream strange and weird things. The illustrations are also very realistic looking. Lott's adaptation of Frankenstein follows and it very true to the book. This time the illustrations are by Skot Olsen. The illustrations have a strange off-true feel to them that actually add to the poignant story. Unlike some adaptations, you truly get the drive of Dr. Frankenstein to create, and of the monster to find a place in the world where he could fit.

"Rappaccini's Daughter" by Nathaniel Hawthorn was adapted and illustrated by Lance Tooks. A young man sees a beautiful young woman from his window and wishes to meet her. He hears lots of stories about her father and his poisonous garden. The daughter is more than she seems The illustrations definitely work well with this story of star-crossed lovers and add a touch of whimsy and fantasy to the tale.

L. Frank Baum's "The Glass Dog" was adapted by Antonella Caputo and illustrated by Brad Teare. A wizard is bothered by neighbors and supplicants until he gets a nearby glassblower to make him a glass dog. The dog is then enchanted to bark and keep people away. The glassblower is paid with a spell. One things leads to another and the glassblower tries to better himself only to find that sometimes what you already have is the better life. The art is well matched to the story and very reminiscent of the film The Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland.

Evert Geradts's whimsical and rather Seuss-ish drawings illustrate the short poem "The Dream Bridge". The poem is only two stanza's so any description would simple retell the poem -- so I'll skip.

"The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath" by H.P. Lovecraft is ably adapted by Ben Avery. Illustrated by Leong Wan Kok, the images are an imaginative mix of the realistic pulled by the horror and the chaos of dreams. Avery manages to distill the story of a man who wishes to find the city of his dreams and his adventures through the dangers of dream landscapes to find the older gods who have barred him from his heart's desire. All told with the well-known sense of unseen horror that Lovecraft is known for.

A nice collection of stories that flowing from one to the other and that entertain, bringing these classics to new readers. If you enjoy these graphic classics, check out the unabridged work by the original authors.

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