A "graphic novel" version of the peom. The ancient mariner in cartoon! If you want to learn the poem by rote, this is the book to get, as the schoolboyish cartoons have a way of jolting the lines into your memory, making superb mnumonics. For example the line "The wedding guest sat on a stone" is illustrated by a cartoon of a man in 17th century dress sitting on top of Mick Jagger. If you will be easily offended by the cheap laughs, don't get the book. But I found having got it that I developed a genuine serious interest in the book. The cartoons do also make some serious points as well. What is a "swound"? Having purchased the book several years ago and lost it. It was the first thing I wanted to buy from Amazon.com.
I have to declare an interest at the outset. I'm a long time Hunt Emerson fan, and he designed a business card for me years ago, as well as doing me some treasured sketches at Forbidden Planet book signings many moons ago. Even in its own day, Coleridge's poem was consciously archaic and stylised, and we normally associate it (you don't?) with the classic Gustave Dore illustrations, dark, Gothic and superbly rendered. Hunt Emerson, by contrast, is the love child of Chuck Jones and Rene Magritte, and his take on the poem combines a surreal visual imagination with masterful technical skill in the graphic story medium and a very British sense of humour. Don't let the cheap jokes fool you. For me, it's parody, but one born of a real affection for the original work, and frankly, STC could take himself a bit seriously at times. Think of something like the Warner Brothers classic 'What's Opera Doc?', and you'll get the idea. Then go and find the Hunt Emerson version of 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'. I thought this had gone out of print years ago, but the fact that it hasn't gives the opportunity for a new generation to make the acquaintance of one of Britain's most original, and underrated, comic artists.
If you want to introduce children to one of the greatest narrative poems in the English language, then why not buy a cartoon book with it? The drawings are wonderfully graphic, frightening and funny in equal measure. I have taught this poem successfully to secondary pupils using this excellent primer. If you rate Coleridge as I do, please buy this book.