The Great Gatsby: The Graphic Novel
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Fred Fordham, and Aya Morton. Scribner, $30 (208p) ISBN 978-1-982144-52-4
This respectable graphic adaptation of Fitzgerald’s canonical novel succeeds as homage, and mostly as a satisfying social critique in its own right. In the introduction, Fitzgerald’s great granddaughter, Blake Hazard, acknowledges the challenges inherent to adapting the 1925 classic to a comic, observing that “the language itself is in some ways the main character.” And while Fordham (To Kill a Mockingbird: A Graphic Novel) must pare down the text, he does a fine job distilling the haunted romanticism of Fitzgerald’s narrative, which describes the doomed love between the enigmatic Gatsby and the lovely but numb Daisy, who is married to the brutish, racist Tom Buchanan. The clean, Art Deco–like backgrounds by Morton (His Dream of the Skyland) evoke the beguiling but ultimately empty nouveau-riche milieu of Gatsby and the Buchanans in suburban Long Island, as well as the dreary gray world of Myrtle and George Wilson in working-class Queens. There the two classes collide, drawing to a tragic conclusion. Though the paper-doll-like character designs are appropriately reminiscent of period illustration, their wide stares and stances feel stiff. While perhaps inevitably lacking the complexity of the original, the fidelity of this graphic adaptation should satisfy Fitzgerald devotees. Agents: Dorian Karchmar and Jay Mandel, WME; Alyssa Henkin, Trident Media Group; and Jenny Savill, Andrew Nurnberg Assoc. (July)
Correction: An earlier version of this review misidentified Blake Hazard as F. Scott Fitzgerald's great-grandson.
Reviewed on: 04/30/2020
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-1-9821-4454-8