Monday, February 23, 2009

Beowulf by Stefan Petrucha with artwork by Kody Chamberlain

Beowulf is the first epic work written in English. It was written more than 1,000 years ago in verse, but in this retelling the text is in modern English. What makes Beowulf an epic poem is that "the main character is a hero who travels great distances to prove his strength at impossible odds against supernatural demons and beasts" (Wikipedia). In this case, Beowulf must defeat the monster Grendel, who has been terrifying the land for more than a dozen years. Not only that, if he succeeds in defeating Grendel, he has to face Grendel's mother, an even more terrible monster. I love the artwork in this version. It's beautiful and dark, but make no mistake about it, it is a bloody story. Even though the story is told in modern prose, the words retain the sense of poetry of other versions. For another graphic novel version of Beowulf, older readers should check out Gareth Hinds's version in the Young Adult dept. Review by Stacy Church

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