This is the fifth post in a series looking at notable stories to be found within The Graphic Canon, volume 1.
"Hot Sun, Cool Fire"
By Dave Morice
I don't really get this poem, which is based on the Biblical characters David and Bathsheba, from a play by George Peele, but the imagery that Dave Morice uses to adapt it is striking as hell, composed of stark black and white bars that radiate from the pages like rays of the sun. Even without color, they turn every panel into a searingly bright assault on the eyes. It's a crazy, cool effect:
By Robert Berry and Josh Levitas
This adaptation of one of Shakespeare's most famous poems ("Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?") by the creators of Ulysses "Seen" is one of the most moving adaptations of the original I've ever read, the kind of recontextualizing of the words that works perfectly and casts the complimentary praise of the poem in a different light, managing in just a few pages to evoke fully realized characters and some real emotions. It's something that comics can do so well, and it's done so skillfully here that Berry and Levitas have immediately become creators I want to read more work from. Apologies for a vague description, but this is a comic that needs to be experienced in full, and it's worth seeking out The Graphic Canon if only for this.
By Noah Patrick Pfarr
This is another recontextualizing of a classic poem (by John Donne), turning its attempted seduction into a bit of lesbian foreplay, and doing it well enough to earn the admiration of a great many readers. It's not just a dirty-minded bit of porn though; Noah Patrick Pfarr takes the text of the poem and turns it into a lively visualization, one that's fun to see play out even if it's not taken as straight erotica. It honors the spirit of the text while making it as hot as possible. That's literary canon right there.