In September Drawn & Quarterly is publishing R. Sikoryak’s Masterpiece Comics ($19.95), a hardcover collection that transforms classic literary works into cartoon parodies.  In Sikoryak’s cartoon-filtered lens Albert Camus’s Stranger becomes a brooding Golden Age Superman, while Shakespeare’s MacBeth is presented as a Mary Worth-style newspaper comic soap opera, Dostoevsky displays his morose affinities with the saturnine Dark Knight of Gotham City, the Bronte Sisters get the EC comics treatment, and Dagwood and Blondie re-enact the Garden of Eden scenes from Genesis.


The most fascinating aspect of Masterpiece Comics is that the parodies cut both ways as these prime exemplars of  the “canon” of Western literature takes their lumps along with the characters and conventions of comic book narration, but in the process Sikoryak manages to provide some fascinating insights about the nature of storytelling and visual representation.  No one will ever look at Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter in quite the same way again after perusing Sikoryak’s Little Lulu parody, Hester’s Little Pearl.