cover image To Kill a Mockingbird: A Graphic Novel

To Kill a Mockingbird: A Graphic Novel

Harper Lee and Fred Fordham. Harper, $23.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-279818-3

This thoughtfully crafted interpretation of Lee’s classic reintroduces readers to the Finch family: scrappy, outspoken Scout; her daring older brother, Jem; and Atticus, their defense attorney father and the book’s moral compass. Decades-old tensions ramp up in their small Southern town when Atticus defends a black man accused of raping a white woman. Even the local recluse, Boo Radley, isn’t free from the repercussions of the trial. Fordham visually establishes the world of Maycomb County—with all its unspoken laws pertaining to race, class, and family—with a sure hand. What stands out, upon seeing Scout and her entourage of free-ranging children in all their ragtag physicality, is that a world of children exists alongside the adult world: equally complex, populated by rumors about “hot steams” (ghosts) and poisoned pecans, yet also wild with possibility. Fordham’s character drawings have an appropriate vintage look, and he chooses the right moments to slow down or pan out. The nighttime panoramas of the mysterious Radley residence are lovely and moody, and Fordham’s sun-dappled days, blue-gray evenings, and sepia courtroom scenes are dampened only by an off-the-shelf generic font. More loving remake than revelation, Fordham’s adaptation may be scrutinized by Lee’s fans, but does sufficient justice to her portrait of injustice. Full art in color not seen by PW. [em]Agent: Andrew Nurnberg, Andrew Nurnberg Assoc. (Oct.) [/em]