City of Glass – Three interlinked novellas, seemingly detective mysteries, spiral into existential nightmares in a project that further deals with the way language works. This adaptation reads superbly with the art switching between realism and abstraction. Paul Karasik, David Mazzucchelli and Picador.
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde – The horror is diminished to concentrate on social observation and psychological thriller, but the stunning art alone sells this astonishing adaptation. The simple change from black to red outline is a masterful touch. Jerry Kramsky, Lorenzo Mattotti and NBM.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – A pair of drug binges in the Nevada desert have become the stuff of legend as writer Hunter S. Thompson and lawyer Dr Gonzo sow chaos, sink into paranoia and delusion and experience euphoria for the sake of journalism. Troy Little and Top Shelf Productions.
The Little Mermaid – Metaphrog work their way back to the disturbing original fairy tale for a beautiful looking and boldly coloured meditation on the fatal consequences of ignoring warnings. Unsanitised and tragic, this is a memorable imagining. Metaphrog and Papercutz.
Masterpiece Comics – The Scarlet Letter with Little Lulu or Crime and Punishment with Batman and Robin? These are not only viable adaptations, but the inclusion of globally known icons taking roles is brilliant idea, convincingly and wittily realised. R. Sikoriyak and Drawn and Quarterly.
Pinocchio – The bizarre and rambling children’s story is given an even more disturbing layer by this imaginative reconfiguration casting the title character as a small robot, and giving him a drunken cockroach companion. Not for children. Winshluss and Knockabout Comics/Last Gasp.
Run Like Crazy, Run Like Hell – A deliberately slow introduction precedes the headlong rush of the title as woman with mental problems is hired as a child’s guardian. What could possibly go wrong? Touching and surprising adaptation of Patrick Mancette’s crime novel. Jacques Tardi and Fantagraphics Books.
Shakespeare Ohne Worte -Don’t worry about the German title. It means Shakespeare without words, and that’s what we get, the complexity of the originals delivered in pictograms, simple figures and great design. Playful and inventive. Frank Flöthmann and Dumont.
Two Brothers – An ambitious saga of twins separated when twelve, then reunited years later, amid complex and broken family dynamics and long concealed secrets. A tragic story of contrast and expectation vividly realised in stark black and white. Gabriel Bá, Fábio Moon and Dark Horse Books.
The Wind in the Willows – It’s odd that a Frenchman adapted the quintessential English pastoral novel, but Plessix does so beautifully and intuitively without overly sentimentalising. The only complete edition is poorly produced, so go for the four invidual books. Michel Plessix and Cinebook/NBM.