A compelling graphic novel adaptation of Upton Sinclair's seminal protest novel that brings to life the harsh conditions and exploited existences of immigrants in Chicago's meatpacking industry in the early twentieth century.
Long acclaimed around the world, Upton Sinclair's 1906 muckraking novel The Jungle remains a powerful book even today. Not many works of literature can boast that their publication brought about actual social and labor change, but that's just what The Jungle did, as it led to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. In today's society, where labor and safety of the food we eat remain key concerns for all, Sinclair's shocking story still resonates. Bringing new life and energy to this classic work, adapter and illustrator Kristina Gehrmann takes Sinclair's prose and transforms it through pen and ink, allowing you to discover (or rediscover) this book and see it from a whole new perspective.
Originally published in 1991 as part of a short-lived revival of the Classics Illustrated line, this adaptation of Sinclair's muckraking socialist novel succeeds because of its powerful images. When Kuper initially drew it, he was already a well-known left-wing comics artist. His unenviable task is condensing a 400-page novel into a mere 48 pages, and, inevitably, much of the narrative drama is lost. Kuper replaces it, however, with unmatched pictorial drama. The story follows Lithuanian immigrant Jurgis Rudkis and his family as they are eaten up and spit out by capitalism (represented by Chicago's packing houses). Kuper uses an innovative full-color stencil technique with the immediacy of graffiti to give Sinclair's story new life. When Jurgis is jailed for beating the rich rapist Connor, a series of panels suffused with a dull, red glow draw readers closer and closer to Jurgis's face, until they see that the glint in his eye is fire. Jurgis, briefly prosperous as a strong-arm man for the Democratic machine, smokes a cigar; the smoke forms an image of his dead son and evicted family. Perhaps most visually dazzling is the cubist riot as strikers battle police amid escaping cattle. Kuper infuses this 1906 novel with the energy of 1980s-era street art and with his own profoundly original graphic innovation, making it a classic in its own right.