ORIGINAL AUTHOR: Robert Louis Stevenson
ADAPTED BY: Roy Thomas
PENCILS: Mario Gully
INKS: Pat Davidson
COLORS: Chris Sotomayor
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics
GENRE: Traditional literature in comic format
PAGES: 32 pages each
COLOR: Full color
From the Marvel website:
In this first issue, a scurvy pirate named Billy Bones jealously guards a mysterious treasure chest, hiding it at the inn owned by the father of young Jim Hawkins. In pursuit of the chest is the most ruthless band of pirates ever to strap on a cutlass, and when Billy Bones dies, all that stands between the pirate crew and the coveted treasure is poor Jim! This is a classic tale that has thrilled generations of readers, taken in by the allure of the sea – as only Stevenson could present it!
With a treasure map in hand, young Jim Hawkins sets out to find buried treasure – as a cabin boy! But en route, Jim learns – to his horror – that the crew of the ship is comprised of former allies of Flint…the very man whose treasure they seek! And these brigands are planning to take the treasure – and murder anyone who gets in their way.
Realizing that he shares lodging on the ship Hispaniola with mutineers, young Jim Hawkins makes his escape to shore and plunges deep into the island. Elsewhere, the mutineers battle the loyal sailors to the death! When Jim rejoins his shipmates, the head of the mutineers, Long John Silver offers a ceasefire in exchange for the map showing where the buried treasure is located. And if Jim and company don’t accept, they may be marooned – or worse.
While the mutineers are ashore on Treasure Island, young Jim Hawkins climbs aboard the near-deserted ship, the Hispaniola … but there is one last mutineer who has stowed aboard the vessel and stalks Jim with a very long, very sharp knife.
Back on the island young Jim Hawkins is captured by the pirates who’ve taken over the stockade. Worse, Jim’s life may be worthless to them now that they have the map, which will take them directly to the treasure! It will take every resource the young man has to keep a cutlass from cutting him in two. It’s the penultimate chapter in this seafaring saga of skullduggery. Don’t miss it.
The seafaring saga comes to a stunning conclusion! Young Jim Hawkins is now a prisoner of the vicious pirates lead by the treacherous Long John Silver. Silver demands Hawkins take his scurvy crew to the treasure buried on the island or his life is forfeit! We bring a close to this great adventure that has thrilled generations of readers since its debut.
This is the first Marvel Illustrated title that I have read. It is seamless, clean and really engages the imagination. From my perspective, it did exactly what it is supposed to do, or what I think it is supposed to do: It makes me want to read the original text.
Obviously it is a condensed story, as it is told in only six issues. The Marvel version tells the tale quickly and focuses on the action. The details in the art are outstanding and the backdrop really creates a rich environment. Case in point: the wrinkles on the characters and the iconic pirate, rum song. Here are some samples of the interior art:
My Rating: Ages 13 and older
Publisher’s Recommended Age: T+ (Ages 13 and older)
Yes it is bloody and scary, but it is also interesting and is considerably better literature than most of the sanitized literature curriculum in many schools. This story could be read by those younger than 13, but the teacher needs to take care and be prepared to defend the decision, which I think could the right decision, depending on the classroom and the surrounding culture.
It goes without saying that this is a classic pirate tale. It swashes and buckles and bleeds. The characters drink and a good portion of the story takes place in a tavern.
IN THE CLASSROOM
The comic adaptation gave life to what kids, teens and some adults might see as a boring old “classic” and made it accessible and interesting. That is not to say that the interest should stop there, and I do not think that it does. For the struggling reader or those who find the traditional novel a chore, they can read the comic adaptation and make sense of the story, which makes reading the novel easier to understand and more entertaining. For many, the comic adaptation will demonstrate that the classics are not boring old texts that adults like and kids hate, but that old books are still relevant.
This is not the only classic title being adapted to comics by Marvel. Some are already available in hardback and new titles are being published:
THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
MAN IN THE IRON MASK
PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY
TREASURE ISLAND is also available from Marvel’s new Digital Comics online subscription service.
This comic is done well and deserves a place in the school system. Kids will love reading it and I think it will help students approach classic novels with an open mind.