The Call of the Wild
written by Lloyd S. Wagner and Jack London
illustrated by Sachin Nagar
A favorite book from childhood, The Call of the Wild is a timeless adventure story, one that has spoken to generation after generation ever since Jack London’s tale was first published more than a century ago. In it, Buck, a St. Bernard dog living a nice, easy life on an estate, is sold to work as a sled dog during the Klondike gold rush of the 19th century. Suddenly, the four-year-old dog is forced into a very different life than one he has ever known.
Buck’s life as a sled dog is vicious and violent, with owners who know nothing about sledding, much less the proper care of dogs, and want only to cash in on the gold rush. When Buck is rescued from this dire situation by a caring new owner, things change for the better…but it never should be said that things are easy or simple for Buck.
The Call of the Wild is a hard-hitting story, and this graphic novel, ably adapted by Lloyd S. Wagner, manages to convey most of it, though space constraints necessarily restrict some of the content. Still, everyone familiar with the book knows how violent and sometimes very sad this story is, and Wagner doesn’t lessen that in any way. Is it really a children’s book? Yes and no. There’s nothing inappropriate for kids except the violence, which can be upsetting for the very youngest readers. But most children should be able to handle this.
Sachin Nagar’s art brilliantly captures the cold openness of the Alaskan landscape, vividly and beautifully. In fact, it’s hard to overstate it: The art here is simply breathtaking and one of the biggest reasons to check this graphic novel out.
Campfire has managed to carve a wonderful little niche for itself by adapting some of the world’s most beloved classics to the comics format. The Call of the Wild is one of the true standouts in that lineup.