A colorful collection of Native American and First Nations trickster tales.

TRICKSTER

NATIVE AMERICAN TALES, A GRAPHIC COLLECTION, 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Twenty-three comics show how natural phenomena from the stars to buzzards have been affected by tricksters.

The 10th-anniversary reissue of this compilation, which features an introduction to trickster tales by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki), contains traditional stories from across Canada and the U.S. retold by Indigenous authors and illustrated by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists. An editor’s note explains that each author chose the artist who would illustrate their story and approved their work. Bruchac’s introduction describes how the stories serve a dual purpose, both entertaining and educating listeners and readers. Many are of the pourquoi tale type, offering etiological narratives, such as “Rabbit’s Choctaw Tail Tale” by Tim Tingle, illustrated by Pat Lewis, which explains why rabbits have short tails. The Catawba story “The Yehasuri: The Little Wild Indians” by Beckee Garris, illustrated by Andrew Cohen, tells readers about mischievous beings who trouble travelers and punish naughty children. The stories vary in length, but most are in the range of 10 pages. The full-color artwork varies dramatically in style and quality; some is exceptionally skillful, making creative use of layout and panels, while other is more static. The range of nations represented is a strength of the work, offering readers a glimpse into both common elements of trickster characters and the sheer diversity of such stories.

A colorful collection of Native American and First Nations trickster tales. (contributor biographies) (Graphic anthology. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68275-273-9

Page Count: 242

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Will appeal to manga fans but raises questions around depictions of racialized material.

OTHELLO

From the Manga Classics series

An illustrated reimagining of one of Shakespeare’s most memorable tragedies.

From the very beginning of this clever adaptation, effort is made to prioritize accessibility of both the manga form and the classic Shakespearean play: The frontmatter briefly highlights the reading direction of the panels, and characters are labeled when introduced, coming to life via a striking combination of early modern Venetian dress; quintessential manga hairdos and facial expressions; and pronounced linework. Like the rest of the series, this account of Othello remains faithful to the original. The black-and-white illustrations allow for Iago’s conniving manipulations to manifest visually as well as animating characters’ bigotry in impactful, distressing ways. However, there are shortcomings: Where the original text may use parentheticals and asides to progress the story, the occasional appearance of parentheses in speech bubbles are a distracting reminder that comics utilize storytelling tools that haven’t been fully adopted here. Likewise, panel after panel of Othello’s turn to violence and his enraged face obscured by shadow provide a poignant dramatic effect but seem to exacerbate prejudices inherent to both the play and medium. Not only is the titular character visually distinguished from other characters by his shading, hair, lips, and overall size, unfortunately neither Shakespeare nor the illustrator seem wholly prepared for a contemporary conversation regarding racial representation in one of literature’s most infamous depictions of othering.

Will appeal to manga fans but raises questions around depictions of racialized material. (adapter’s notes, character designs) (Graphic fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-947808-13-3

Page Count: 420

Publisher: Manga Classics

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

more