Graphic Novel Review 194/365: The One Hundred Nights of Hero

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days! Or search #GN365 on Twitter.

Hey, all!  No special theme this week, just some cool books that I’ve been waiting to tell you about!

Title: The One Hundred Nights of Hero 

Author(s): Isabel Greenberg

Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company (2016)

Age Rating: 13+

About four years ago I wrote a poem called “Storytelling is not Dead” in response to a frustrating day in which my students lacked any sort of creativity in their writing.  I needed to convince myself that in fact, storytelling (and creativity) was not dead because I love stories.  As an only child, I can recall my dad telling me stories about rabbits and foxes to help me fall asleep as a little one.  So, when I found out that The One Hundred Nights of Hero is a collection of campfire-type stories in The Canterbury Tales tradition, I was intrigued.

This over-sized (physically) book had been recommended to me by a few valued graphic novel friends, so I’m glad that I get to add this one to my list of read books!  And after this review, I’m guessing a few of you will add it to your list as well.

I’m sure that this 2016 graphic novel by Isabel Greenberg made a bunch of “Best Of” lists in 2016.  I have not checked, but this book is special.  It sets itself apart from any other book that I have reviewed thus far in its story-telling alone.  Yes, I have read and reviewed books that focus on a collection of stories centered around a theme or particular world, but the way Greenberg creates feel classical.  I mentioned The Canterbury Tales because as you read the first story in this book, it feels like story-telling of old.  These are the types of stories that elders pass down for generations.  Like Beowulf, but maybe not as epic?  Actually though, in the classroom, this book would pair nicely with a Beowulf or a Canterbury Tale or two…maybe all three in an epic unit on storytelling and what it means and/or its purpose.

The art here is also meaningful.  It’s well-done, but the lines often looked sketched out or look like woodcut prints with simple colors.  This gives the book an old school feel; at times, almost like a cave drawing or painting, supporting the idea that the tales in this book are meant to be in a classical tradition.  And the lettering is seemingly hand-drawn to further the personal feel of the work.

These stories are for those of you longing for a connection to the short stories that you’ve read in classical literature classes.  However, the graphic novel medium allows for a new interpretation of the genre.  One that I hope continues to inspire future writers and artists because I’m all-in!

Happy reading!

Eric

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