I recently read City of Glass, Paul Auster’s smart and provocative 1985 novel of identity and consciousness, in conjunction with the 1994 graphic adaptation with Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli, introduction by Art Spiegelman. Each is brilliant in its own right, and reading them side by side is an entire education in the complex and multidimensional challenge, as well as the unique, sweet rewards of comic books. The graphic is no more an illustrated version of the original than Coppala’s “Godfather” is a linear set of moving pictures aside Puzo’s text. Comic books—a medium not a genre, a third thing with its own history and idiosyncratic opportunities and demands— have come into their own, and this double-dip shows how and why.

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