"Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry, originally published in 1906, has become one of the best known and most beloved of Chistmas tales. An exuberant couple urged on by their love, make great sacrifices in order to purchase the perfect Christmas gift for the other. The husband sells his gold watch in order to buy expensive combs for his wife's luxurious locks. While the wife sells her hair to the wigmaker in order to buy a chain suitable for her husband's handsome timepiece. When all is revealed on Christmas Eve, the sweet irony of their dual generosity leaves them, whether they know it or not, as the wisest of gift givers: "But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi."
The artist Joel Priddy employs the same twists of reciprocity in his own work and is well suited to adapting and updating this classic for a modern audience.
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Joel Priddy's first graphic novel, Pulpatoon: Pilgrimage, won an Ignatz Award for Outstanding Debut and was nominated for an Eisner as the year's best graphic novel. Joel teaches illustration and cartooning at the Memphis College of Art.
William Sydney Porter (1862–1910)—better known as O. Henry—is one of the world's most widely published writers. A master of the short story, he is the author of more than six hundred tales that have been translated into nearly every language. He is best known for his stories about New York City, which include The Gift of the Magi and The Purple Dress.
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