Fidelity Politics and Adaptation Networks in Graphic Narrative Adaptations of Paul Auster's City of Glass and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein




Connell, Ashley Sierra

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This research is an examination of the graphic adaptations of Paul Auster's City of Glass and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I use medium-specific theory in conjunction with adaptation theory to work toward entering graphic narratives into adaptation scholarship.

City of Glass shows how complex written narrative structures can be adapted in a visual medium using an interpretive approach to story-driven adaptation. Reading the paratext across multiple editions of both the written and graphic texts reveals how fidelity politics manifest in the presentation of text. To counteract this, a comics-theory-driven reading of the graphic adaptation reveals how the interpretative mode of adaptation creates a graphic narrative structure that encompasses the chosen interpretation, producing a text which can function outside of its adaptation position and serve as its own palimpsest text.

The four graphic adaptations of Frankenstein further the understanding of what an adaptation is, focusing on a character-driven adaptation that incorporates more than one source text. Each new version of the Creature not only draws intertextual inspiration from the Frankenstein texts produced before it, but also reveals the shifting cultural perception of the Creature. From Dick Briefer's two polar opposite versions, to Marvel's mainstream adventure, to Niles and Worm's gritty sequel, each iteration expands upon the growing network of texts available to it and uses the conventions of the graphic form to complicate both the Creature and the meaning of adaptation.



Adaptation, City of Glass, Comic Books, Frankenstein, Graphic Narrative, Narrative Theory