ParodyÂ and literature is a favorite pet topic of mine. There’s something pleasurable about seeing familiar literature spun into amusingly unfamiliar forms.* As Nabokov said — “Satire is a lesson, parody is a game” — there’s an element of fun that’s when “high art” can be treated playfully in “low” art form.Â Which largely explains my geekish delight in discoveringÂ Masterpiece Comics —
“Masterpiece Comics adapts a variety of classicÂ literary works with the most iconic visual idioms of twentieth-century comics. Dense with exclamation marks and lurid colors, R. Sikoryak’s parodies remind us of the sensational excesses of the canon, or, if you prefer, of the economical expressiveness of classic comics from Batman to Garfield. In “Blond Eve,”Â
Dagwood and Blondie are ejected from the Garden of Eden into their archetypal suburban home; Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray is reimagined as a foppish Little Nemo; and Camus’s Stranger becomes a brooding, chain-smoking Golden Age Superman. Other source material includes Dante, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, bubblegum wrappers, superhero comics, kid cartoons, and more.”Â
Again with the Comics helpfully shares with us what Crime and Punishment would look like, if told as a 1940’s Batman comic.
Comic Impact has a quite good summaryÂ of this literary comic collection:“The key ingredient that really makes Sikoryakâ€™s book such a success is his ability to perfectly mimic every genre and style of comic art he tries his hand at. Every pane in the book looks like it comes directly from the pen and brush of a Jerry Robinson, Windsor McCay, Bob Kane, Joel Schuster or Jim Davis.”
You can find additional previews atÂ R. Sikoryak’s website.
The New Yorker (“You’re a Good Man, Gregor Brown“) takes a look at a Kafka in Peanuts form. And my favorite of the bunch, Existential Superman in Action Camus:
* Within limits, of course. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was much too much even for me.