Author: Richard Appignanesi (Adaptor), William Shakespeare (Original), Emma Vieceli (Illustrator)
Series: The Managa Shakespeare Collection
Edition: Paperback, 208 pages
Publication Details: April 1st 2007 by Abrams Books for Young Readers
Genre(s): Classics; Graphic Novels
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!
Part of ‘Manga Shakespeare’, a series of graphic novel adaptations of William Shakespeare’s plays. Prince Hamlet is depressed. Having been summoned home to Denmark from school in Germany to attend his father’s funeral, he is shocked to find his mother Gertrude already remarried. The Queen has wed Hamlet’s Uncle Claudius, the dead king’s brother. To Hamlet, the marriage is “foul incest.” Worse still, Claudius has had himself crowned King despite the fact that Hamlet was his father’s heir to the throne. Hamlet suspects foul play.
I love that this series exists! I always enjoyed studying Shakespeare but reading his plays outright can be a bit of a chore, so what better way to combat that than read a short, sharp Manga version instead?
I enjoyed this a lot, but it wasn’t without its flaws. I found the illustrations both beautiful and sinister, and loved the way they included a Sci-Fi, futuristic element, yet stayed true to the text. I felt like I could follow the story relatively easily, but then, Hamlet has always been a favourite of mine so I know the story pretty well anyway.
I did think it was sometimes hard to tell who was who, and who was talking, but maybe that’s just because I’m a Manga-amateur, I don’t know. I think some of the characters looked a little too similar, but Emma Vieceli did a great job (yesIprettymuchfanciedthemallOK), especially with Ophelia who was just as beautiful and haunting as she should be.
I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be to edit such a huge play- Shakespeare’s longest no less- down to so little text, and so I was really impressed. I’d love to collect the whole series, and see if I can follow one of the ones I’m not so familiar with.