Authentically enlightening and entertaining.

READ REVIEW

KING SHAKA

ZULU LEGEND

From the African Graphic Novel Series series , Vol. 2

Following on Shaka Rising (2018), this volume further explores the legend of King Shaka, founder of the Zulu nation.

Much research has been done by South African Molver to trace the particulars of Shaka’s life from his birth in the 1780s until his death in 1828. Zulu culture was an oral one, passing down history through the telling of stories, which led to multiple versions of the truth even as the “ignorance or bias” of European written records was understood to be historical fact. Recognizing its own narrative as simply one telling of the story, this book focuses on the last decade of his reign, when external and internal threats challenged his prominence. There’s the arrival of conspiring European settlers and even a bit of nefarious plotting among the siblings who envy Shaka’s throne. Woven throughout are key terms from isiZulu, along with symbolism inherent to Zulu supernatural beliefs, giving readers a deeply contextual immersion in the cultural foundations of the Zulu people who today represent almost a quarter of South Africa’s population. The illustrations show stern and stalwart faces and display the brutal, inflamed action of war. The overwhelming global success of Marvel’s Black Panther is echoed in the final image, which, in opposition to the story’s historical specificity, feels generic and tame.

Authentically enlightening and entertaining. (historical notes, timeline, cultural and linguistic notes, discussion questions, glossary, pronunciation guide) (Graphic historical fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946498-93-9

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Story Press Africa

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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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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