Graphic Classics Volume 13: Rafael Sabatini Paperback – Mar 9 2006
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Gr. 9-12. This thirteenth volume in the Graphic Classics series offers adaptations of eight works by the early-twentieth-century author of such classic adventure-romance stories as Scaramouche and Captain Blood. Densely illustrated in black-and-white panels, the stories, retold by diverse writers and illustrators, range in style from realistic to cartoonlike, achieving continuity through their period details and appropriately archaic prose. A lengthy, straightforward account of Peter Blood's progress from conscientious doctor to slave to buccaneer captain leads off, followed by a lively biography of Sabatini himself, which combines personal information with witty asides and pop-culture references. "The Dream" is a provocative psychological mystery in which hypnosis plays a part. Author and artists profiles close this book, which comics fans can enjoy on their own or as an adjunct to literature studies. Shelle Rosenfeld
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Remembered primarily for the slate of Errol Flynn films adapted from his works, such as "Captain Blood" and "The Sea Hawk," Sabatini is credited with the literary creation of the anti-hero, a rogue who's heroic nature is made heroic only by striving against those more villainous than himself. A host of pirates, charlatans and highway robbers manage to ingratiate themselves to the reader under Sabatini's guiding hand.
"Graphic Classics: Rafael Sabatini" is clearly a labor of love for editor Tom Pomplun, and he has put extra care into its quality. There is not a weak piece in this volume, and the artists are especially well-matched to the stories.
This volume contains:
"Captain Blood" - From a doctor, to a slave, to a free-booting pirate, Peter Blood's story is a bloody swath of adventure. Illustrated in a straight-forward but suitable style, Sabatini's most famous story comes dramatically to life. This one definitely makes me want to get the book and read the full story.
"Desperately Seeking Sabatini" - A hunt for the author,written by a college professor who wonders why Sabatini is not better remembered. Sabatini's story is an eye-opener. I had thought of him as a contemporary of Alexandre Dumas, not someone who was able to go see his own movies.
"The Valet Mystery" - A clever short story in the Sherlock Holmes vein, tense and with an interesting twist.
"The Spiritualist" - A comedic tale of a charlatan and the worlds beyond. Great illustrations to compliment the story.
"The Plague of Ghosts" - Another mystery, where a former con man hires his services to the police to uncover other con men. This time, a haunted castle and a bullet-proof ghost with a blazing skull. Classical art on this one really brings out the mystery.
"The Fool's Love Story" - Artist Milton Knight brings his personal flair to this story of the courage of ugly people, and how their love is no less powerful than the beautiful's.
"The Risen Dead" - A no-account rogue is finally brought to trial, although it is for a crime he didn't commit. A miracle grants him a second chance, but it is up to him to make something of it.
"The Dream" - An creepy tale of a mesmerist seeking to enforce his will upon a young lady of fortune. Her true love intervenes best he can, but the mesmerist's powers are strong.
This graphic novel takes some extracts from Captain Blood, and adaptations of six of his short stories (of which he wrote many), and forms them into a very enjoyable book. As each of the stories are adapted by a different author (for the most part), and illustrated by a different artist, there is a wide variance between the stories. I found them all to be quite good, and I really enjoyed the time I spent reading this book.
I must say, I also really enjoyed the work, Desperately Seeking Sabatini, which is a nice graphic mini-biography of the great man. It was quite interesting.
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