Heart of Black and White

A US edition of Conrad's best-known work

A US edition of Conrad's best-known work

Is there anything that can’t be made into a graphic novel? Joseph Conrad’s classic Heart of Darkness is being re-imagined as a black and white comic book , the Guardian reports.

Illustrator Catherine Anyango told the paper she had her reservations about taking on such a significant book. “I wasn’t sure initially if it was a good subject for a graphic novel as the writing is so dense and the style of it is partly what attracts me to the book.”

The book’s density didn’t stop Francis Ford Coppola from appropriating it for his Vietnam movie, Apocalypse Now. Anyango tried to steer clear of other adaptations of Conrad’s novel, “Partly because I didn’t want to end up with any similar visuals and also I had been warned that something nasty happens to a cow … [but] Apocalypse Now is huge and well, apocalyptic, but Heart of Darkness is a much quieter story.”

As a Swedish-Kenyan artist, Ayango brings a perspective that straddles both coloniser and colonised. But she told the Guardian that her story looks beyond those defintions. “I wasn’t trying to tell the history of colonialism either, but to situate this particular narrative in a way that people might ask: what on earth was the attitude of that time that these things could happen?” The horror, not as a colonial antique, but as a universal artifact.