“Howl” as a Graphic Novel

December 2, 2010

I stumbled across this article on NPR today, which discusses Allen Ginsberg and what his work has meant to the author of the article.  It’s an interesting commentary complete with a fun personal story she tells about Ginsberg, but what really struck my attention was the fact that “Howl” has been transformed into a graphic novel.  It was released this fall and the illustrations were done by Eric Drooker, a friend of Ginsberg’s from the Lower East Side of NYC.  The two had collaborated on Illuminated Poems during the 1990’s and the collection was published just a year before Ginsberg passed away.  When thoughts of creating a motion picture about Ginsberg began popping up, Drooker was approached about illustrating some of the scenes which have in turn resulted in large portions of this graphic novel.

Here is a link to the introduction of Howl: A Graphic Novel, which is written by Eric Drooker.  It describes some of his own personal experiences with Ginsberg and how they have shaped his thoughts for the book.

Here is a link to some of the other images that can be viewed from Drooker’s book.  I find all of them fascinating; it’s so interesting to see how Ginsberg’s work is interpreted by other people, especially someone who actually knew Ginsberg and worked with him.  Some of Drooker’s images are so literal and true to the text, while others are really individualized and unexpected.  I have really been enjoying looking through the graphic novel and finding new ways to interpret the poem.  With the release of the graphic novel and the motion picture, it’s interesting to see how “Howl” has been reworked for older audiences to enjoy and new audiences to discover.

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