Befittingly dark, atmospheric, and evocative.

POE

STORIES AND POEMS: A GRAPHIC NOVEL ADAPTATION

Graphic-novel veteran Hinds turns his astute eye to Poe’s best-known tales.

After reimagining many classics including Beowulf, The Odyssey, and a smattering of Shakespeare’s plays, Hinds now takes on the poems and stories of Edgar Allan Poe. In “The Cask of Amontillado,” a dark palette suffused with ominous shadows and fiery earthen reds depicts the unnamed, white narrator as he leads foolhardy Fortunato into his own airless death. Those familiar with “The Tell-Tale Heart” will be delighted to watch the psychological drama unfold as Hinds conceptualizes the famously grisly details while playing with visually striking splashes of color to further accentuate the terror. Hinds also visualizes three of Poe’s poems: “Annabel Lee,” “The Raven,” and “The Bells,” though these poems stray from a traditional graphic-novel format, eschewing panels for expansive, page-filling illustrations with the verse text set against them. At the beginning of each piece, Hinds plainly lays out the recurring thematic elements of horror from his own “Poe Checklist”; for example “The Masque of the Red Death” warns its readers of “death, disease, and scary sounds.” Also included are historical notes about Poe and each vignette, making this volume equally valuable for classroom use or for independent reading.

Befittingly dark, atmospheric, and evocative. (Graphic adaptation. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8112-8

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Shakespeare’s fantastical dream in an appealing format that can be shared with a wider audience.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

From the Manga Classics series

Manga that brings to life Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy.

This third entry in Manga Classics’ adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays maintains their practice of reproducing the full text of the original. The black-and-white illustrations allow readers to easily follow the plot while also picking up on subtle themes that are significant to understanding the play. For example, the abundant imagery surrounding the moon is emphasized by the moon’s presence in the backgrounds of many panels throughout the book, drawing readers’ attention. Long dialogues are also explained visually, which allows young readers to grasp what is being discussed without the need for a glossary or translation into modern English. The nobility is portrayed in a typical manga fashion with large eyes, small noses, and well-defined ears—but with appropriate Grecian clothing—while the commoners are easily visually distinguishable from them in style. The guide to reading manga at the beginning unfortunately describes the right-to-left reading order as “backwards from the normal books you know,” a strangely judgment-laden description for a book using manga to broaden the cultural exposure of young readers. However, the creators’ notes at the end offer fascinating insights into the adaptation process and may inspire budding manga artists to attempt their own works.

Shakespeare’s fantastical dream in an appealing format that can be shared with a wider audience. (cast, creators’ notes, character design sheet) (Graphic fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947808-10-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Manga Classics

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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A solid introduction for budding lovers of the Bard.

HAMLET

From the Campfire Graphic Novels series

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

The timeless tale of the young and disaffected Danish prince who is pushed to avenge his father’s untimely murder at the hands of his brother unfolds with straightforward briskness. Shakespeare’s text has been liberally but judiciously cut, staying true to the thematic meaning while dispensing with longer speeches (with the notable exception of the renowned “to be or not to be” soliloquy) and intermediary dialogues. Some of the more obscure language has been modernized, with a glossary of terms provided at the end; despite these efforts, readers wholly unfamiliar with the story might struggle with independent interpretation. Where this adaptation mainly excels is in its art, especially as the play builds to its tensely wrought final act. Illustrator Kumar (World War Two, 2015, etc.) pairs richly detailed interiors and exteriors with painstakingly rendered characters, each easily distinguished from their fellows through costume, hairstyle, and bearing. Human figures are generally depicted in bust or three-quarter shots, making the larger panels of full figures all the more striking. Heavily scored lines of ink form shadows, lending the otherwise bright pages a gritty air. All characters are white.

A solid introduction for budding lovers of the Bard. (biography of Shakespeare, dramatis personae, glossary) (Graphic novel. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-93-81182-51-2

Page Count: 90

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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