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Friday, July 16, 2010

Kill Shakespeare (comic book review by Anthony Tournis)


HERE IS THE FIRST ISSUE PREVIEW!

I am an avid comic book fan. I love them! I still go to the comic book shop every Wednesday to pick up new releases. So, when Andy asked me to review a comic book I jumped at the chance. Then he sent me “Kill Shakespeare”. Great. Shakespeare. Sounds…well…it sounds boring and if you are an actor like me, it reminds you of hot nights in the summer with an outdoor audience full of fat tourists. I could only imagine this to be an overzealous theater geek trying to make Shakespeare a quill-wielding superhero, fighting crime in Elizabethan England. I thought it would be page after page of flowery prose with characters talking in heightened language about absolutely nothing. Language for language sake is literal masturbation ( I like to masturbate, though).

I wasn’t thrilled to pick up “Kill Shakespeare”, but now it seems I have trouble putting it down. “Kill Shakespeare” is a wonderfully imaginative book that takes you to places you haven’t really been before. The story is an offshoot of several classic Shakespearian plays. Our hero is Hamlet, Prince Of Denmark, has just been sent to England by the King’s command with his “close friends” Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The story deviates from script when Hamlet’s ship is attacked by pirates. Hamlet escapes and is found by the devious Richard the Third. Richard then tells young Hamlet that there is a man who controls him and the world in which he lives. This all powerful man is called William Shakespeare, and he must DIE. Hamlet accepts the quest of killing the bard and runs into an assorted cast of characters all taken from Shakespeare’s plays. Falstaff, Puck, and Iago (to name a few) encounter Hamlet along his treacherous quest and play a part in either helping or hindering the Danish Price. Meanwhile, we learn of a plot that Richard is hatching with several of Shakespeare’s villains. “Kill Shakespeare” is written by Connor McCreery and Anthony Del Col. These guys deserve medals for taking classics that are incredibly well known and make them exciting and original. Not only do we see well known characters in a completely new adventure, there is also the brilliant and intriguing theme of destroying the one who created you. To say “Kill Shakespeare” is thought provoking is an understatement. The story is easy to follow whether you are an avid Shakespeare reader or not. However, if you are an avid Shakespeare fan (see: nerd), there are plenty of inside jokes that will keep you entertained. Not to mention the amazing twists on our favorite old school characters.

The language is not your typical Shakespearian speak, however rhyme schemes and word play is used incredibly well to convey this very rich story. Andy Belanger’s art is beautifully simple. Art was the one thing I was worried about in this book (I worry about other stuff all the time, like STDs and Cuba), because I feel when comics focus on classic writing they devote far more time to words than they do to art. That is definitely not the case here. The colors of Ian Herring give an amazing texture to Belanger’s art, so much, so that I want to live in this comic. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a compelling story with familiar but different characters.

I’m on the third book and I am already hooked. Do yourself a favor and check out “Kill Shakespeare”.

Kill Shakespeare A-

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