Thursday, July 8, 2010

Shakespeare Summer: Shakespeare Newsletter's "Comic Book Shakespeare"

Another week, another revised chapter. So far, the diss-->book project is going pretty smoothly. I may have finished collecting resources for the new chapter, which will focus on Prospero and the Tempest. In the meantime, I thought I would briefly discuss another article on the topic of Shakespeare and Comics.

"The Comic Book Shakespeare" was published in three parts in the Shakespeare Newsletter, from volume 56:3 (Winter 06/07) to 57:2 (Fall 07). It's a survey of comics which adapt Shakespeare; part one focuses on series which are out of print, part two deals with series which are in print, and part three discusses non-series books. Many of the books discussed are British or Australian, and I expect would be fairly difficult to acquire, but I haven't tried yet. There's just about as many images from these books as you could reasonably expect an article to have, so no complaints there, and indeed much praise, since these images give a pretty solid foothold to those of us who have never read these books and aren't sure if we need to.

Many authors compiling the various "... in comics" lists -- and there are a great many of them -- focus solely on the creation of the list itself. That is, the bibliography. Michael P. Jensen, author of this list, however, shows more willingness to comment and discuss the various titles he catalogues, and I at least am glad. Maybe that's because of the narrowness of his focus; Jensen is not trying to compile a list of "every Shakespeare reference in comics" or anything like that, he's just talking about adaptations. And that means that, in three sections and over half a year, he has time to give us at least a couple of paragraphs about each of the titles he brings up. The series books get discussed largely by series rather than individual books, but it's clear Jensen has read all of them when he occasionally brings up artistic elements particular to, say, the CI version of MacBeth.

This is a great article, easy to find and informative. It gave me leads on several Tempest adaptations I want to read for my chapter, and because Jensen talks about which ones are looser and involve more authorial interpretation, I know which ones might go into the paper, and which ones I can only nod to.

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