There are many time when comics and classics collide, and some of our favorite literary characters jump from the pages of their respective books and enter the paneled world of comics. Sometimes they come as foe, sometime they come as friend, but they always become a fun read.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
Yes, one of Hugo’s most well-known characters Quasimodo gets involved in a knock down all out brawl with Bruce Banner’s alter ego. It all starts because Quasimodo did one of the stupidest things you can do in the Marvel universe. He kidnapped the Hulk’s girlfriend; since the hunchback is a bit of a recluse we should give his a pass for not knowing better. What proceeds next is what you would expect to happen when you make the Hulk mad. Little side note: While I say this is Hugo’s character, I must admit the Hulk fights the great-grandson of the original hunchback of Notre Dame, which is a detail that just brings up more questions than answers.
A Study in Scarlet, Hound of the Baskervilles, and the many other Sherlock Homes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Slam Bradley, Batman, and Ralph Dibny the Elongated Man were three of the stars of Detective Comics, admittedly Batman outshone the other two. All three are working on cases that lead to London and one of Moriarty’s (yes that Moriarty) ancestors. With all these great detectives coming together and the three chasing roads that lead back to Sherlock Holmes, it’s only appropriate that the one and only Holmes make an appearance. Though I think the epic time leap required for Batman and Holmes to meet requires a bit of suspended disbelief, it’s okay when you consider that Detective Comics brought the one and only original detective Sherlock Holmes into the comic world to meet the one and only Batman. The two were united once again many years later as enemies in epic rap battles of history.
New Excalibur #10-12 (2005)
King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and the rest by sir Thomas Malory or Roger Lancelyn Green
Of course in a series named after the epic sword of yore, you expect to see the Knights of the Round Table at least once, and you get to. For a three comic arc the members of Excalibur go back in time to Camelot, save King Arthur, and even cause some mischief. Not to give too much away but the rascally Pete Wisdom might have started a love triangle between Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere which I would assume causes some kind of temporal disturbance or time loop. This was a great use of the familiar literary setting of Camelot to form the backbone of a superhero mission.
While I called this comic cameos I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the following recurring literary character filled comics:
Grimm Brothers’ tales, Animal Farm (Orwell), Wizard of Oz (Baum), and so many many more
Fables is a series that is made from familiar characters so to try to name all the works that are used for inspiration would be an entirely different article (maybe later). The Adversary conquered all the fairy tale lands sending the creatures of those realms into New York. Some of the main characters are Bigby a.k.a the Big Bad Wolf, a now divorced Snow White, and Jack the beanstalk climber. Watching the all too perfect characters from our favorite fables transform into the regular humans is just a special kind of magic.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Verne), Invisible Man (Wells), Dracula (Stoker), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Stevenson), King Solomon’s Mines (Haggard), I could go on and on
The League of Extraordinary Gentleman is where literary characters go to kick butt and take names. It’s 1898 and a group of people are covertly brought together to help defend the British Empire. This sounds like an innocent enough premise until you consider that the people are some of the most, dare I say, extraordinary literary characters of the time. Mina Murray (previously Harker) from Dracula, Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Dr. Jekyll (sometimes Hyde), Moriary, and the Invisible Man are featured just to name a few. Besides a wonderful adventure, Alan Moore’s work is full of moments for readers to go, where do I remember this character from.