What a piece of work is this comic


In the spirit of Chris’s ranty ranty post, here: SparkNotes’ line of No Fear Shakespeare graphic novels is actually really awesomely good, and none of the artists are credited on the front cover, only on the back cover, which is laaaame. Hamlet by Neil Babra is my favorite, but Macbeth by Ken Hoshine and Romeo & Juliet by Matt Wiegle are also solid. All three creators deserve way more critical attention.


Here’s my brief review of Hamlet:

Neil Babra’s done an outstanding job with this one. His character designs, graytones, page layouts are all superb. The characters’ “acting” is strong, the pacing works well, and (most impressively) the script is a hybrid of Shakespeare’s original and SparkNotes’ dumbed-down “translation,” capturing the best features of both (and leaving Shakespeare’s best lines undamaged). Note also the fantastic frontispieces drawn by Babra for each act – each one a masterpiece I’d be proud to hang in my house. Hats off to Babra for taking a project that could easily have been phoned in (SparkNotes? Seriously?) and knocking it out of the park. This is a fine graphic novel.



4 Responses to “What a piece of work is this comic”

  1. 1 dorkas November 10, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    i am flipping my shit over the Hamlet cover art.

  2. 2 Leigh Walton November 10, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    I also love how his Player King is modeled on Shakespeare himself.

  3. 3 Angie November 11, 2008 at 8:00 am

    !!! Thanks for this! I hadn’t heard about these and I love Neil Babra’s work, so I’ll probably pick up a copy for my friend.

  4. 4 eric orchard November 11, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    The Hamlet cover art is stunning and I love the layouts! I’m glad you pointed this book out because if I had heard about this elsewhere an entirely different type of comic would have come to mind, something a lot staler. This looks pretty exciting.

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Leigh Walton talks comics and maybe other arts. (RSS)
He also works for the very excellent publisher Top Shelf Productions (which does not necessarily endorse the views and opinions, etc, herein).


Header by me. Contains an interpolation of the final panel from All-Star Superman #1 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. Speaking of which.

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