cover image The Prophet: A Graphic Novel Adaptation

The Prophet: A Graphic Novel Adaptation

Kahlil Gibran, A. David Lewis, and Justin Rentería. Graphic Mundi, $21.95 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-63779-050-2

This solid comics adaptation from Lewis (the Kismet, Man of Faith series) and artist Rentería joins other recent graphic interpretations in framing a plot around the poetic original. After living for 12 years in Orphalese, Almustafa, the “Prophet of God,” spies a ship arriving from his homeland. As he prepares to depart, the people, led by the seeress Almitra, urge him to “speak to us and give us of your truth.” Almustafa wanders the streets, imparting aphoristic teachings on such topics as love, children, work, and freedom to a clearly devoted public. The action unfolds in an unspecified Mediterranean country populated by romanticized archetypes (the stoic widow, the seemingly innocent femme fatale), and Rentería’s clean black-and-white comics literalize Almustafa’s metaphors and symbols, such as rendering a stone fruit’s pit as the knowledge brought by pain, or the strings of a lute to represent marriage (though threaded separately, they “quiver with the same music”). While hewing close to the original text, Lewis and Rentería fill in the prophet’s backstory through wordless flashbacks, portraying him as a young man caught up in military actions and a romantic betrayal; these narrative flourishes offer fresh angles on Gibran’s words. Though primarily suited to those who already hold The Prophet dear, this has the potential to create new fans. (June)