by Josh Frank)
This week, my latest book, The Good Inn, co-authored with Pixies frontman Black Francis, comes out from HarperCollins. What excited me most about writing this book--besides working with two of my favorite artists on the planet--is that it takes part in the revival of the classic tradition of the illustrated novel, a tradition that has been relegated to the world of "children's books" for far too long.
The Good Inn is definitely not for children. It tells an arresting tale about art, conflict and the origins of pornographic cinema (did I mention it's not for children?). I like to describe it as the book version of a film--before the film is filmed. Hence, the illustrations by famed illustrator Steven Appleby, help to visualize the story before the movie is made.
In recent years, illustration has slowly been returning to books. The best example is J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, with Mary GrandPré's illustrations appearing at the beginning of each chapter (and on the cover, of course), each one giving readers some insight into what was to come in those pages.
One can argue that Harry Potter marks the rebirth of illustrated novels for adults. Though originally treated as children's books, as Harry Potter matured and its appeal among the 18 and over crowd grew, the chapter-opening illustrations remained.
Over the last few years, there are even more examples of illustrated novels, some specifically for adult readers. So, novels with pictures are not just for kids anymore. And, actually, they never were.
And so, without further ado, here is the first official list of eight other illustrated novels for adults you should know about, from past to present.