The feet of the Great Gatsby #1 at the end of his pier, looking out at the green light.

The Great Gatsby Comic #1 Review

Written by: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Adapted by: Ted Adams

Art by: Jorge Coelho

Coloring by: Ines Amaro

Lettering by: Robbie Robins

This may seem surprising or not at all but the original The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books. It’s strange because, on a surface level, it doesn’t fit anything else that I like. I enjoy superheroes, myths, high fantasy, and the many worlds of science fiction. The Great Gatsby is about none of that but shares one thing in common with so many of them. The characters are larger than life. Superman, Batman, Gandalf, Picard, they’re larger than life, icons even. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is all about a man whose larger than life. So now I feel conflicted about The Great Gatsby #1, a comic adaptation of one of my favorite books.

I knew that they made comic adaptations of books, but I had never read one before. It’s hard not to immediately draw comparisons to the novel and its many film adaptations, especially when I don’t know the point of adapting it in the first place. This means I went into The Great Gatsby #1 with expectations I haven’t had for a comic before. If it’s going to enter a new medium, I felt that it had to add something new. The adapted script had to bring something different to the narration, or the art had to illustrate something new about the characters, or together they had to strike me in a way the original book didn’t.

The words "F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby" stands next to the character himself, Gatsby, looking out at the green light.
Not a lot of images are available of this book online so forgive the repetitious use of images.

And The Great Gatsby #1 doesn’t do that. It’s not bad by any means, it’s an expertly done recreation. I was thoroughly engrossed by the internal monologue and the lines of dialogue that first captured me many years ago. It’s hard to tell how much of it is the original book and what isn’t. I haven’t read this novel in years, and yet… it feels too familiar. If someone told me that every line was lifted from the book I’d believe you. This isn’t a new take, this is an exact retelling that uses art to rid the novel of some fluff.

The Green Light at the End of the Pier

The Great Gatsby #1 is a fantastic read, but because the novel is fantastic. The act of adaptation now feels unnecessary. To really bring something new, I would have used the at to illustrate the wonder and feelings of Gatsby in a way no film adaptation could. The art captures the characters as well as any film adaptation, but because Jorge Coelho’s art chooses to be grounded, rather than bombastic. This makes it feel plainer than even the most recent film adaptation.

But, this is the beginning. The pinnacle Gatsby himself only appears on one page so far. This means his presence could drastically change the story of the series, but I’m not sure it will. This adaptation is great, and will likely continue to be great, but because of what it’s adapting. If the goal was to adapt it in a new format so a new audience could digest it, this expertly accomplishes that. As someone who loves the original The Great Gatsby, this comic adaptation does nothing new.

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