This week, Chris Wilson’s and my reviews come together at The Graphic Classroom as “The Bard in Two Parts,” where we make a sizable dent reviewing Shakespeare adaptations.
Shakespeare has weathered countless adaptations into prose, comics, new-theater, and films – and most of the time with mixed reviews. Generally, these efforts come of rash underlining and focus on just one of a multi-thematic reading, and consequently forget that —let’s say — the boy Hamlet’s rage conveniently dissects the royal-line from Denmark, or that Fortinbras had crossed the border with an army. While a little less popular, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE has been hammered into film history (at least six by my count!) and multiple retellings (like Arnold Wesker’s play THE MERCHANT), and — like here — into its second graphic novel.
Part of my collection-development plan here in Bradford is to punctuate a wicked-awesome graphic novel section with classic adaptations; while I don’t foster any illusions about making unaware youngins fans of The Bard, I do think it’s important to make available certain canonized works in fresher mediums – if available. I did the same with Beowulf, as it — like Shakespeare — is almost always force-fed through a dated edition to sophomores who couldn’t give a damn. Archaic language does of a student an enemy make, anon. I am, however, skeptical of adaptations, but because I had already just a solid experience with Gareth Hinds, I jumped on THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
I wasn’t disappointed.
You can read the rest here. What’s cool is that Gareth Hinds responded, saying: “Thanks! That’s a great review — very positive and also very thoughtful and well-written. Please pass along my thanks to Michael.” Received and lauded, o’ great one. Candlewick Press will be publishing his King Lear in ’09 and The Odyssey in ’10.