Kill Shakespeare Volume 1: A Sea of Troubles

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Press: IDW Publishing; 59143rd edition (November 9, 2010)
Publication Date:2010-11-9
Author Name:Conor McCreery


What Fables does for fairy tales, Kill Shakespeare does with the greatest writer of all time. 
This dark take on the Bard pits his greatest heroes (Hamlet, Juliet, Othello Falstaff) against his most menacing villains (Richard III, Lady Macbeth, Iago) in an epic adventure to find and kill a reclusive wizard named William Shakespeare.


A narrative device that could easily have crashed and burned instead proves engaging and, at times, enlightening in this clever extrapolation of the Bard's narratives and characters. 
Foulest of the foul, tyrant Richard III and the seductive Lady Macbeth trick an anguished Hamlet into a quest for the quill of a mysterious wizard known as William Shakespeare.
Though in the care of the king's man Iago, Hamlet soon finds himself in the company of the deceptively buffoonish Falstaff, who brings him before Othello and Juliet, leaders of a rebellion against the king.
Though it's heavier on action than Shakespeare ever was, authentic interpretations of the cast (particularly master manipulator Iago and the rascal Falstaff) and several scenes faithful to the playwright's themes make for a much more enjoyable read than many Shakespeare-phobic students are likely to expect.
The art opens up the world and offers some impressively imagined backgrounds at the same time that it keeps the characters grounded and real and the entire production appropriately theatrical.
A grim epilogue promises more in the offing.
--Jesse Karp -- Booklist, Issue: November 15, 2010


Comics & Graphic Novels,Fantasy Graphic Novels,Graphic Novels,Teens

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Comment List (Total:14)

  •     Very interesting comic
  •     As a comic book fan and a Shakespeare fan I was delighted to find this Vol. 1 TPB at a Borders. I flipped through the pages, but decided to buy it, based on the introduction from Darwyn Cooke and an endorsment from Patton Oswalt on the back.I was not disappointed. This is a fun, fresh take on Shakespeare while obviously owing a debt to Fables and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Taking Shakespeare's familiar characters and putting them in a "shared" universe. Where Falstaff meets Hamlet, where Don John and Othello fight, where Richard the III has an agreement with the McBeths and mentions Titus and Lear.The writing is sharp with plenty of references to Shakespeare's works. Some are subtle (Hamlet washes ashore in Richard's kingdom thanks to a "tempest"), others not as subtle (a whorehouse where Falstaff disguises himself as a woman is called "The Merry Wives of Windsor") and some are funny (a pub called "Bottom's Up"). There are also several lines spoken that came from various Shakespearean plays. Authors McCreery and Del Col know what they are writing abou t. Hamlet has a fine mixture of pathos, whining, uncertainty, and heroism. Iago is perfectly deceiving and Falstaff is just PERFECT!The artwork I'm less impressed with. It's good, and the characters don't shift. It's certainly not the worst artwork I've seen out of IDW (their Expendables comic comes to mind), but I guess I was looking for something cleaner and not so comic like. Personal opinion of course.Overall a 4 star review and I can't wait to see where Vol 2 takes us.
  •     You don’t have to be a Shakespeare fan to enjoy Kill Shakespeare. It can stand on its on as a well written and engaging story.
  •     If you enjoy anything done by William Shakespeare, than you'll love this twist of his characters! Good vs Evil.. the mysterious wizard Shakespeare himself.. it's all fantastic!
  •     I seriously thought this was a novel, but I suppose that's my own fault for not looking too closely before ordering.
  •     Here's a teaser of my review for it:"Kill Shakespeare is an intense, thrilling, and a highly exciting narrative that is full of crazy puns and references galore to...
  •     This was a decent comic book.But as an adaptation of Shakespearean characters it falls far short.
  •     Granted, not everyone is a Shakespeare fan, but I doubt "Kill Shakespeare" is going to convert anyone.
  •     Kill Shakespeare is a work of vaulting ambition. Sent away to England after accidentally killing Polonius Prince Hamlet is attacked by pirates. He awakens to find himself in the court of none other than the villain Richard III. Richard feigns goodness and offers Hamlet a deal: he'll resurrect the prince's father in exchange for Hamlet killing the wizard Shakespeare and bringing back his magical quill. While Hamlet accepts the commission, he quickly realizes that all is not what it at first seems; A group of Richard's subjects, known as Prodigals, are in open rebellion, led by Juliet, Othello, and Falstaff.Vaulting Ambition proves valiant dustThe premise will no doubt bring Bill Willingham's "Fables" to mind for many readers. //Kill Shakespeare// likewise takes well known characters and tries to combine and grown them in ways both entertaining and unexpected. Just as I won't be the first person to make this comparison, I suspect I won't be the only one to conclude that, despite many strengths, Kill Shakespeare proves wanting.Series creators Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col have a demonstrable affection for this material, but will irk many readers with short comings in both textual understanding and language. Most crucially of all, the writers rarely make the creative leap into taking these well known characters in directions that are both novel and engaging (Iago and Lady Macbeth being two delightful exceptions). More often than not, the writers move these iconic characters in the opposite direction, reducing their depth in the service a rather convoluted narrative.These criticisms may be made harsher by a combination of my love of Shakespeare and my high expectations of this book. This series grasps at such a high concept that success was almost certain to prove elusive. On occasion, the action and dialogue proves amusing. I enjoyed the appearance of characters from the cast of some of the less widely read plays (and was more than a little disappointed to find them remain in minor roles). On the whole, however, this work's faults lie not in its stars but in itself.
  •     The plot makes no sense. The characters are poorly formulated. The artwork is blurry and cheap, causing a lot of confusion about who is who in the scenes. Just a mess. A MESS!!!!
  •     Fun and fast paced....great read! It feels as if it will continue to impress. Kill Shakespeare is a must read!
  •     I liked the premise of this more than I actually liked the story itself. By the time I got 2/3 the was thru the story I was well and truly tired of all the Shakespearean language.
  •     I wanted so badly to love this book. A graphic novel about Shakespeare's characters looking for him? That is right up my lit-nerd alley.The plot is fine, the premise brilliant, the characters...simplified Shakespeare.That would have been enough for me to rate it three or fours stars, but I absolutely could not like this book because (yes, I know this makes me a snob) of the grammar.If you're going to write a book in Elizabethan English, please, for the love of the English language, learn the difference between thee and thou.
  •     A clever, very postmodern concept that treats Shakespearean plays as a fictional universe in the dark-fantasy tradition, *Kill Shakespeare* shows great promise. I'm pleased to see recognition that Juliet Capulet--as Shakespeare himself wrote her--is more than just a sweet, pretty young thing, and it's interesting to see how the author is spinning out Hamlet's epic indecision, though I'm not entirely convinced by the idea that the misogyny he displayed in the play (especially toward Ophelia) is just the result of awkwardness. I have a bit of a bone to pick about the treatment of Macbeth, too: he comes across as rather idiotic, which seems a bit unfair.I won't say much about other character developments for fear of spoiling things, but I was pleased to see Tamora making an appropriately murderous and mysterious appearance, as well as the hint of interaction and competition among the kingdoms of Shakespeare's monarchs. The additional material involving Hecate tears down the fourth wall behind the fourth wall in a particularly intriguing way.Overall, I enjoyed the beginning and am looking forward to the next volume.

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