Did you think the term “Gotham City” to represent New York started with DC Comics? Well you would be wrong. Washington Irving coined the term and gave New York City a lot of its perceived cultural and lexical character. Therefore! I recommend the Batman comics. Sure, they have nothing to do with Rip Van Winkle, and it would’ve been easier to recommend a fireside story. And more respectable. And yet here I am! Batman excellently represents modern urban development and change, just as Irving wrote about the rapid changing face of the world that he knew in New York during the gestation period of our country. Start with Batman: Year One.
You may not be surprised, but there are not many film adaptations of Rip Van Winkle! Shocker. So, after some research, I’m going with Rip Van Winkle (1972) by Will Vinton, which is a darling claymation short that shows Rip’s curious tale in a homey and americana fashion. True to story, and true to form, it represents Washington Irving excellently!
When it comes to American Revolutionary War time literature, I cannot help but recommend The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. When you hear the title, you may assume that the book contains juicy details of a very important American patriot’s life, but you would be mistaken. This book was penned by the man himself about his life, but it is more of an insight to his life philosophies then the inside scoop on the American Revolution. It is a very inspiring read full of life advice and some of Ben’s life events. It is definitely worth a try if you enjoy that period of time and a truly wise man’s counsel.
A recommendation that may seem a little out there that I have is the film series Back to the Future (1985). Rip Van Winkle is, to me, an early time travel story and the Back to the Future series is a great representation of time travel. Marty McFly is the teenage main character who goes on adventures through time that have wild repercussions. There are interesting plots centered around time travel, great characters, and a ton of laughs. If you want to get into that time travel spirit, I highly recommend this movie series.