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Dual Anthems

Summary:
Ayn Rand‘s Anthem only takes about an hour to read.  So while it’s her weakest novel, the literary value per minute of reading is high.  And it definitely belongs on any list of classic dystopian fiction.  Only recently, though, did I discover that there are two graphic novel adaptations. 1. The 2011 adaptation by Charles Santino and Joe Staton. This version heavily edits the text, and has exactly three panels per page.  The illustrations are basically just black-and-white sketches; skillful, but not exciting to me.  On the positive side, bright kids of 7 0r 8 would be able to follow the story easily.  One sample page: 2. The 2018 adaptation by Jennifer Grossman and Dan Parsons. This version uses almost all (all?) of the original text, and the illustrations and

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Ayn Rand‘s Anthem only takes about an hour to read.  So while it’s her weakest novel, the literary value per minute of reading is high.  And it definitely belongs on any list of classic dystopian fiction.  Only recently, though, did I discover that there are two graphic novel adaptations.

1. The 2011 adaptation by Charles Santino and Joe Staton.

Ayn Rand's Anthem by Charles Santino, Ayn Rand: 9780451232175 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

This version heavily edits the text, and has exactly three panels per page.  The illustrations are basically just black-and-white sketches; skillful, but not exciting to me.  On the positive side, bright kids of 7 0r 8 would be able to follow the story easily.  One sample page:

Dual Anthems

2. The 2018 adaptation by Jennifer Grossman and Dan Parsons.

Dual Anthems

This version uses almost all (all?) of the original text, and the illustrations and layouts are consistently thrilling.  While I enjoyed both graphic adaptations, this is definitely the better one for readers 13 and up.  Stellar!  And there’s even a full Youtube video adaptation of the graphic novel.  One sample page:

Dual Anthems

Notice how panel 1 makes you feel like you’re actually climbing down the grating into the belly of the Earth.  The whole book is packed with similarly evocative panel arrangements.  And there’s even a shout-out to Orwell in the final panel.

P.S. Anyone know how the Atlas Society got the rights to adapt Anthem?  I would think that Leonard Peikoff would have blocked this as long as it remained in copyright…

HT: David Boaz for sending me the Grossman-Parsons version.

Bryan Caplan
Bryan Caplan is Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center. He has published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the American Economic Review, the Economic Journal, the Journal of Law and Economics, and Intelligence, and has appeared on 20/20, FoxNews, and C-SPAN. Bryan Caplan blogs on EconLog.

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