Martin Rowson's graphic novel version of Tristram Shandy is not just an excellent adaptation of the book, it is a landmark comic masterpiece in its own right. He includes large swathes of Sterne's original but, inspired by the diversionary style of the original, he keeps breaking off for an ironic and often sarcastic parallel commentary that savagely lampoons the the pretensions of academic theorists...I am sure that Sterne would have approved.
This is all thoroughly entertaining, but it is the artwork that makes this book outstanding. Rowson's art is a wildly creative collage of styles- he is drawing with an etching style directly inspired by the savage 18th century cartoons of Hogarth, Gilray et al, but he throws in allusions to the British Comic Cuts traditon, modern political cartooning, the most fantastic works of Piranesi, Krazy Kat and parodies of Durer, Beardsley and Grosz. This is entirely appropriate to the freewheeling and irreverent spirit of Tristram Shandy and is absolutely gorgeous to look at (especially in this new hardback edition). The end result is rich and challenging...and funny too. It should be on the shelves of all graphic novel collectors and Shandy fans.