THE ILIAD Graphic Novel Review: Awesome Educational Adaptation

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Author / Illustrator: Gareth Hinds

SYNOPSIS

In a companion volume to his award-winning adaptation of The Odysseythe incomparable graphic novelist Gareth Hinds masterfully adapts Homer’s classic wartime epic. 

More than three thousand years ago, two armies faced each other in an epic battle that rewrote history and came to be known as the Trojan War. The Iliad, Homer’s legendary account of this nine-year ordeal, is considered the greatest war story of all time and one of the most important works of Western literature. In this stunning graphic novel adaptation — a thoroughly researched and artfully rendered masterwork — renowned illustrator Gareth Hinds captures all the grim glory of Homer’s epic. Dynamic illustrations take readers directly to the plains of Troy, into the battle itself, and lay bare the complex emotions of the men, women, and gods whose struggles fueled the war and determined its outcome. This companion volume to Hinds’s award-winning adaptation of The Odyssey features notes, maps, a cast of characters, and other tools to help readers understand all the action and drama of Homer’s epic.

REVIEW

Thanks to Candlewick Press for providing a copy of The Iliad Graphic Novelfor review!

When I first heard about a graphic novel adaptation of The Iliad I was really excited! I wasn’t the biggest fan of Greek history in my younger years, but I do find updated adaptations fascinating! I love seeing how modern historians re-frame accounts that others have taken for granted or ignored in the past. This graphic novel version of the Greek poem provides a fairly educational account of events, while still being super entertaining and fun to read.

For me, one of the most interesting parts of The Iliad is Achilles. His interplay with Agamemnon, Patroclus, and of course Hector is so compelling. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is a personal favorite that focuses on the affection between Achilles and Patroclus. I was hoping that this graphic novel adaptation was a bit more gay, but Achilles love for his childhood friend is still firmly in tact! The drama surrounding Achilles’ role in the Trojan war is arguably the best section of this adaptation. Prior to that, I was just waiting for Achilles to show up again.

There is a large section of the story that focuses more on the Greek Gods’ interference with the war, and the organization of both the Trojans and the Achaeans. Many fight sequences list out who killed who in excruciating detail. For this reason, I feel like the adaptation would work well as a research tool or refresher for students who need to know the story in depth. Purely from an entertainment standpoint, I would prefer a show-not-tell narrative style.

One of my favorite parts of the graphic novel is the list of adaptations included in the book. Hinds describes each change and his reasons for altering the source material. It’s great to go back through the book and revisit these moments with the changes in mind.

The Iliad Graphic Novel is now available for purchase.

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