I have a confession to make. I never read Treasure Island as a kid. Actually, I haven’t read it as an adult either. Until reading the Marvel illustrated version, I had no desire. But now I feel like I’ve missed out.
Treasure Island (Marvel Illustrated Series)
By Robert Louis Stevenson
Adapted by Roy Thomas Art by Mario Gully
Ages 12 and up
I read this in bits and pieces, catching moments between mind-numbing grading of the State’s 4th grade ELA exam. Many of the other teachers in the room walked up to me and were very curious about what I was reading.
“Is that Treasure Island?”
“Is that a comic?”
I proudly showed off the beautiful artwork. The artists did a good job capturing the constant action in this story. The colors are so vibrant that the panels jump off the page. The artwork, not the story, made me hesitat as to the age specification (Marvel rates this T+) because some of the violence is so garish, that certain panels made me wince in pain! That said it was all done very tastefully.
But I tend to focus so much more on the writing and I felt this was adapted well. (I checked with Sparknotes and saw that the adaptation was very true to the original story.) The story moved well, so that I didn’t want to put the book down each time they produced a new batch of papers to grade. The characters were developed well. Jim was an innocent, brave, and cunning young boy. Long John Silver – well he was just downright creepy! There were a host of other characters and it wasn’t difficult to follow them throughout the story. Each had a distinct voice and look.
I’m probably going to pick up the original Treasure Island one day soon. It sounds like I missed a really great classic. For those who want to give their teens and tweens a great comic or want to use this to bridge them into the classics shouldn’t miss this title from the Marvel Illustrated series.
About Esther Keller
Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.
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