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The Picture of Dorian Gray (Illustrated Classics): A Graphic Novel Paperback – January 26, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The classic tale of a man who sells his moral health for the opportunity to retain his youth and good looks, and the portrait that reveals his own corruption to him, is well-suited to this graphic novel adaptation. Edginton retains many of Wilde’s eloquent phrasings, and Culbard’s black-and-white images give us a Belle Epoch London to fit with Dorian Gray’s recklessness. Lord Henry Wooton’s Svengali role is clearly defined here, and the working-class victims of Gray’s appetites and denials—including the Vane siblings—have some of the most distinct and personalized features among the cast of characters. Gray himself verges on cartoon proportions, a fitting tribute to Wilde’s presentation of him as lacking moral depth. Fitting with the original story, Culbard uses scenes from taverns, opium dens, and bawdy houses, and includes an image of an accurately rendered male nude garden statue. Teens who have read the original will appreciate this rendition, and those who haven’t read Wilde directly should be encouraged to give him a try after this taste. Grades 8-12. --Francisca Goldsmith
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Product Details

  • Series: Illustrated Classics
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling; Reprint edition (January 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1411415930
  • ISBN-13: 978-1411415935
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #575,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
"The Picture of Dorian Gray" seems particularly suited to comic book adaptation. The gothic tone of the piece combined with the sublime imagery of the ever-aging, ever-corrupting portrait is ready-made for some illustrator in the Edward Gorey or Tim Burton vein. Black and white is the way to go, as a color adaptation would make Gray's world seem too garish, too vulgar. A delicate touch is required here.

Illustrator I.N.J. Culbard brings that delicate touch, with an art style that is cartoony and gothic at the same time. Culbard does not go for the obvious, which would be an imitation of Gorey or Burton's style. The eternal beauty of Dorian as well as the brashness of Lord Henry who urges Dorian on and the horrible visage of the portrait that reflects Dorian's soul are all portrayed with a deft hand that brings the story to life the way only the best adaptations do.

Praise must also go to story-adapter Ian Edginton who has to cut down the novel to comic book length, keeping only those passages which contain the core of the morality play. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is one of Oscar Wilde's most famous works, and although not a particularly long novel it is complex with undercurrents and allusions enough to keep a college literature course busy for quite awhile.

Edington does have the advantage of a full graphic novel format to work with. I have read illustrated adaptations of "The Picture of Dorian Gray" before, most recently in the Graphic Classics: Oscar Wilde, but they have always been shorted versions of the story packed into an anthology. With this Sterling Press publication, you get even more of the famous lines and Wilde's unique style.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joseph M. Reninger on April 17, 2013
Format: Paperback
The Picture of Dorian Gray was a sensation when it was published in 1890. The beautiful but intellectually slight Dorian Gray inspires his good friend Basil in his artistic endeavors. A portrait of Dorian is his masterpiece. Basil shows his other friend, Lord Henry, who admires it greatly and wants to meet the subject. Lord Henry is a thoroughly modern man with the barbed tongue of a heartless cynic. When Dorian sees the painting and Lord Henry explains how he, Dorian, will grow old and wither while the painting will always remain youthful and innocent, Dorian prays, "If it were only the other way! If it was I who was to be forever young and the picture that was to grow old! For that, I would give everything, there is nothing in the world I would not give...I would give my soul for that!"

Dorian's wish is granted. Under Lord Henry's influence, he develops a strong taste for experience of any sort. He rejects an actress who he has fallen in love with because Lord Henry doesn't like her acting. Dorian cruelly dumps her. The next day, he resolves to make it up to her but finds out that she committed suicide. He looks at the painting and notices the cruel, baggy eyes and the smile that has turned to a scowl. He goes on to live a decadent life, letting the painting receive the consequences of his sins. But can it go on forever?

The story is full of great quotes, which are captured here. The plot is followed closely. The black and white drawing are used effectively, showing the facade of innocence Dorian has through his life while his friends age. The Picture itself is well done, with more character than Dorian himself. The graphic novel is a good summary of the story, but it can't match the lyrical words of Wilde and the greater depth of Dorian's psychological and moral fall that are described in the book. I'd recommend reading the original over reading this, though this is a nice refresher.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Allegra DiNetta on July 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really like this story, but I'm not crazy about this art style. I know they wanted to make Dorian look like Oscar Wilde, and he does, but also looks kind of like Jay Leno.
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Pike on January 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought the Marvel graphic novel of The Picture of Dorian Gray. I had to buy it on amazon because the nearest Barns and Nobel has a very small and somewhat lacking graphic novel section. The Marvel graphic noel is very nice.

I also bought a graphic novel version from Sterling press. I wasn't sure which one I'd prefer.

Well, after looking at them there's no contest. The Marvel one is definitely a far superior version. The illustrations are gorgeous. It's a word for word adaptation of the novel. Everyone looks the way I imagine them from the original book, save for Basil. I think the graphic novel version of Basil is far more attractive than my mind gave him credit for. Strangely, I'd say he even looks a bit like Ben Barnes' version of Dorian. Lord Henry always looks the same in almost every adaptation so his appearance was no surprise to me.

I'm very disappointed in the Sterling edition though. The Sterling Picture of Dorian Gray graphic novel is done in this art deco 1920s type of style where everything's flat, straight lined, sharp edged, and Dorian is drawn vaguely like the nineteen thirties film version, and not at all like the literary version. It's also a far rougher adaptation. Lots of heavy edits and lacking in scene detail in the art work.

Out of the two graphic novel versions of The Picture of Dorian Gray I strongly prefer the Marvel version. I highly recommend it to any Oscar Wilde fan. The Sterling version... not so much.

The story itself is fantastic.

I LOVE the work of Oscar Wilde. Allow me to stress that. I absolutely love the work of Oscar Wilde. My two favourite works of his are The Canterville Ghost and The Picture of Dorian Gray.
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