Readers of the classics may become manga fans, and manga fans may find the world of classic literature opening up to them...

MACBETH

From the Manga Classics series

This graphic-novel take on the Bard’s Macbeth retains all of the original wording.

Chan’s (Romeo and Juliet, 2018, etc.) choice to use Shakespeare’s unabridged text makes the presence of the imagery all the more important. Illustrator Choy (Romeo and Juliet, 2018, etc.) stays true to traditional manga style, portraying the white European characters with large eyes and delicate facial features. The art allows for visual clarification, offering clues to help readers who might struggle without it: Scenes such as the floating dagger or the ghost of Banquo sitting in Macbeth’s chair at the banquet are rendered more accessible through the illustrations. Close-up views of facial expressions give clues to the characters’ feelings, qualities, and even their sanity. The black-and-white shaded art conveys changes in Macbeth’s personality throughout the story (softer and kinder at the beginning; more cunning and shadowed near the end), making the darker turns the story takes visible in a concrete way. While Shakespeare and manga may not seem like an obvious pairing, the illustrations here provide the visual entertainment and clarification that are integral aspects of enjoying a play.

Readers of the classics may become manga fans, and manga fans may find the world of classic literature opening up to them thanks to this creative adaptation. (cast, creators’ notes) (Graphic fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-947808-08-9

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Manga Classics

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2018

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Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced...

MACBETH

From the Wordplay Shakespeare series

A pairing of the text of the Scottish Play with a filmed performance, designed with the Shakespeare novice in mind.

The left side of the screen of this enhanced e-book contains a full version of Macbeth, while the right side includes a performance of the dialogue shown (approximately 20 lines’ worth per page). This granular focus allows newcomers to experience the nuances of the play, which is rich in irony, hidden intentions and sudden shifts in emotional temperature. The set and costuming are deliberately simple: The background is white, and Macbeth’s “armor” is a leather jacket. But nobody’s dumbing down their performances. Francesca Faridany is particularly good as a tightly coiled Lady Macbeth; Raphael Nash-Thompson gives his roles as the drunken porter and a witch a garrulousness that carries an entertainingly sinister edge. The presentation is not without its hiccups. Matching the video on the right with the text on the left means routinely cutting off dramatic moments; at one point, users have to swipe to see and read the second half of a scene’s closing couplet—presumably an easy fix. A “tap to translate” button on each page puts the text into plain English, but the pop-up text covers up Shakespeare’s original, denying any attempts at comparison; moreover, the translation mainly redefines more obscure words, suggesting that smaller pop-ups for individual terms might be more meaningful.

Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced e-book makes the play appealing and graspable to students . (Enhanced e-book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: The New Book Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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Using modern language, McDonald spins the well-known tale of the two young, unrequited lovers. Set against Nagar’s at-times...

ROMEO AND JULIET

From the Campfire Classics series

A bland, uninspired graphic adaptation of the Bard’s renowned love story.

Using modern language, McDonald spins the well-known tale of the two young, unrequited lovers. Set against Nagar’s at-times oddly psychedelic-tinged backgrounds of cool blues and purples, the mood is strange, and the overall ambiance of the story markedly absent. Appealing to what could only be a high-interest/low–reading level audience, McDonald falls short of the mark. He explains a scene in an open-air tavern with a footnote—“a place where people gather to drink”—but he declines to offer definitions for more difficult words, such as “dirges.” While the adaptation does follow the foundation of the play, the contemporary language offers nothing; cringeworthy lines include Benvolio saying to Romeo at the party where he first meets Juliet, “Let’s go. It’s best to leave now, while the party’s in full swing.” Nagar’s faces swirl between dishwater and grotesque, adding another layer of lost passion in a story that should boil with romantic intensity. Each page number is enclosed in a little red heart; while the object of this little nuance is obvious, it’s also unpleasantly saccharine. Notes after the story include such edifying tidbits about Taylor Swift and “ ‘Wow’ dialogs from the play” (which culls out the famous quotes).

Pub Date: May 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-93-80028-58-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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