Peter Kuper’s Classics Illustrated adaptation of Upton Sinclair's whistle-blowing novel on the conditions at the Chicago slaughter houses in the early 20th century is brought back to press in a beautiful larger size hardcover. One of his best and most poignant works.
Mr. Sinclair in The Jungle has given the world a close, a striking, and, we may say, in many ways a brilliant study of the great industries of Chicago. . . . The language Mr. Sinclair employs is appropriate to the scene, the action, and the characters of his drama. . . . The experienced reader will at once perceive that Mr. Sinclair has taken Zola for his model. The likeness is more than striking -- it fairly forces itself upon the attention of the reader. . . .He has not written a second Uncle Tom's Cabin. -- New York Times review, March 1906; Books of the Century
Originally published in 1991 as part of a short-lived revival of the Classics Illustrated line, this adaptation of Sinclair's muckraking socialist novel succeeds because of its powerful images. When Kuper initially drew it, he was already a well-known left-wing comics artist. His unenviable task is condensing a 400-page novel into a mere 48 pages, and, inevitably, much of the narrative drama is lost. Kuper replaces it, however, with unmatched pictorial drama. The story follows Lithuanian immigrant Jurgis Rudkis and his family as they are eaten up and spit out by capitalism (represented by Chicago's packing houses). Kuper uses an innovative full-color stencil technique with the immediacy of graffiti to give Sinclair's story new life. When Jurgis is jailed for beating the rich rapist Connor, a series of panels suffused with a dull, red glow draw readers closer and closer to Jurgis's face, until they see that the glint in his eye is fire. Jurgis, briefly prosperous as a strong-arm man for the Democratic machine, smokes a cigar; the smoke forms an image of his dead son and evicted family. Perhaps most visually dazzling is the cubist riot as strikers battle police amid escaping cattle. Kuper infuses this 1906 novel with the energy of 1980s-era street art and with his own profoundly original graphic innovation, making it a classic in its own right. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
In this arresting and visually stunning graphic novel, artist Kuper adapts Sinclair's hugely influential novel set in the stockyards of Chicago. Young Lithuanian immigrant Jurgis Rudkus has come to America with his family in search of prosperity. Instead the Rudkus family is taken advantage of by a corrupt system that exploits workers. After the loss of several jobs, prison stays, and the death of his wife and son, Jurgis falls victim to despair and drink, until he finds hope and purpose in the union movement. Kuper does an outstanding job of fitting Sinclair's dense novel into a slim and cogent graphic format. As a matter of necessity, some characters from the original text are removed here, and others are given a less prominent role, but the basic plot outline and the spirit of the book remain the same. Kuper's artwork, angular and vividly colored, does an exceptional job of bringing to life turn-of-the-century stockyards and tenements. Although this graphic novel would appeal to fans of historical fiction as well as those interested in the labor movement, getting them to read it could be a problem. Neither Sinclair nor Kuper are big draws, but those teens who can be persuaded to pick up this volume will be richly rewarded. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P S A/YA G (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults; Graphic Novel Format). 2004, NBM, 48p., Ages 15 to Adult.