This was a great book, the story's pacing is brink and the writing is fun and enjoyable. The books portrayal of shakespeares characters seems faithful to their originals (from what I remember of them anyhow) and uses shakespeares plays as a backdrop with great success.
Much like Fables, these guys take the classic plays and incorporate all of their characters into one amalgamated universe which stands outside the source material to create something wholly original. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and though it does no recreate shakespeare in any way, I think it does a good job paying homage to his works.
The artwork is very sharp, with some excellent imagery and really nice character designs, Othello looks like a BAMF, and the panels are put together beautifully.
This is an excellent book to pick up if you're a fan of Fables or LOEG. Very good book, I highly recommend it.
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Kill Shakespeare is a work of vaulting ambition. Sent away to England after accidentally killing Polonius Prince Hamlet is attacked by pirates. He awakens to find himself in the court of none other than the villain Richard III. Richard feigns goodness and offers Hamlet a deal: he'll resurrect the prince's father in exchange for Hamlet killing the wizard Shakespeare and bringing back his magical quill. While Hamlet accepts the commission, he quickly realizes that all is not what it at first seems; A group of Richard's subjects, known as Prodigals, are in open rebellion, led by Juliet, Othello, and Falstaff. Vaulting Ambition proves valiant dust
The premise will no doubt bring Bill Willingham's "Fables" to mind for many readers. //Kill Shakespeare// likewise takes well known characters and tries to combine and grown them in ways both entertaining and unexpected. Just as I won't be the first person to make this comparison, I suspect I won't be the only one to conclude that, despite many strengths, Kill Shakespeare proves wanting.
Series creators Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col have a demonstrable affection for this material, but will irk many readers with short comings in both textual understanding and language. Most crucially of all, the writers rarely make the creative leap into taking these well known characters in directions that are both novel and engaging (Iago and Lady Macbeth being two delightful exceptions). More often than not, the writers move these iconic characters in the opposite direction, reducing their depth in the service a rather convoluted narrative.
These criticisms may be made harsher by a combination of my love of Shakespeare and my high expectations of this book. This series grasps at such a high concept that success was almost certain to prove elusive. On occasion, the action and dialogue proves amusing. I enjoyed the appearance of characters from the cast of some of the less widely read plays (and was more than a little disappointed to find them remain in minor roles). On the whole, however, this work's faults lie not in its stars but in itself.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
An interesting startAug. 27 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
If you're a fan of Shakespeare and a fan of the Fables series by Bill Willingham, then this comic should be right up your alley. The authors take the world of Shakespeare and turn it upside down. The characters are self aware and realize that there is some higher power that controls their world, but one faction seeks to kill this higher power--Shakespeare, and take his power for their own. At the center of the battle is Hamlet who has been case out of his home and finds himself in a strange land with two groups battling to control him, for they fear and hope that he is the one that can be the final piece of the puzzle.
Here's my word of advice...brush up on your Shakespeare before reading this volume. So many different characters and plots from the plays are thrown at you that it's hard to figure out some of the references if you haven't read the plays in a while. The overall story is decent enough although it does suffer a little bit from some gaps in the transitions and trying to cram a lot into the page which can prove to be a bit overwhelming.
The artwork isn't bad, although it appears that the characters can never be happy as they always look angry or confused...mostly angry. It fits well with the story, but there isn't anything that just jumps out at you as amazing. It lacks some of the polish that you can find in some series, such as Fables or "Y: the Last Man" and so background colors can overwhelm the foreground or both just blend together a bit.
It's an interesting series and I'll keep any eye on it. I just wish I didn't have to bone up on all of the plays to make sense out of some of the characters or places mentioned.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I had expectations that were a fair bit higher than what was delivered to meApril 24 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Hamlet is exiled to England after his father's untimely death. On the journey, his ship is attacked, and he washes up on shore at the feet and mercy of Richard III. Richard claims that Hamlet has been sent to fulfill prophecy as the Shadow King. He is the only one who can find the wizard, William Shakespeare and kill him. Others, however, have different ideas about this prophecy. They believe the Shadow King is to find Shakespeare, but return him to them and deliver them from the evil Richard. Richard desires to obtain Shakespeare's quill, which holds vast amounts of power; the people wish to overthrow his tyrannical rule.
So. I can pretty easily say that this is the worst graphic novel I have ever read. My boyfriend informs me that I've been spoiled. I only started reading graphic novels about 3 years ago, and in that time I've had nothing but the greats to consume--Sandman, Watchmen, Fables, Transmetropolitan, etc. I only recently started branching out and selecting my own graphic reads beyond what's been recommended to me. My first selection was American Vampire, which was very decent if not the love of my life; the second was A Flight of Angels. I loved it, it was visually the most beautiful graphic novel I've read to date, and the story was there to back it up. To me, Kill Shakespeare failed on both accounts.
What did I expect from Kill Shakespeare? Well, every little blurb kept screaming at me "THIS IS LIKE FABLES BUT WITH SHAKESPEARE INSTEAD OF FAIRY TALES". And I suppose it would be. If Fables had half-hearted art, no character development, and rushed plot lines. So needless to say, I had expectations that were a fair bit higher than what was delivered to me.
Maybe I just don't know my Shakespeare well enough to appreciate this (though I feel like I know it fairly well), but I found the plot jerked instead of flowed, and didn't really make a whole lot of sense when it came right down to the details...Hamlet, supposedly the prophesied savior of both sides of a fledgling battle, is more-or-less led around by the nose by the villains, ignoring mounting evidence against them and refusing to throw in with those rebelling against their evil overlord without first being slapped over the head with a frying pan full of `you're batting for the wrong team' omelets. I guess this would have been fine if I cared about the story, but I didn't. The wizard, William Shakespeare, was mentioned only as slightly more than a legend, and unfortunately there was no real build to back up the evil deeds of Richard III and the unrest of the people rising to rebel.
If Kill Shakespeare could have been stretched out as a longer series, maybe it would have been stronger. As is, I feel like they were really pushing to get every major character into six issues of story. But without some history given, or time to build up to the conflict, it's hard to illicit any interest.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Very Good StartDec 12 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
As a comic book fan and a Shakespeare fan I was delighted to find this Vol. 1 TPB at a Borders. I flipped through the pages, but decided to buy it, based on the introduction from Darwyn Cooke and an endorsment from Patton Oswalt on the back.
I was not disappointed. This is a fun, fresh take on Shakespeare while obviously owing a debt to Fables and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Taking Shakespeare's familiar characters and putting them in a "shared" universe. Where Falstaff meets Hamlet, where Don John and Othello fight, where Richard the III has an agreement with the McBeths and mentions Titus and Lear.
The writing is sharp with plenty of references to Shakespeare's works. Some are subtle (Hamlet washes ashore in Richard's kingdom thanks to a "tempest"), others not as subtle (a whorehouse where Falstaff disguises himself as a woman is called "The Merry Wives of Windsor") and some are funny (a pub called "Bottom's Up"). There are also several lines spoken that came from various Shakespearean plays. Authors McCreery and Del Col know what they are writing abou t. Hamlet has a fine mixture of pathos, whining, uncertainty, and heroism. Iago is perfectly deceiving and Falstaff is just PERFECT!
The artwork I'm less impressed with. It's good, and the characters don't shift. It's certainly not the worst artwork I've seen out of IDW (their Expendables comic comes to mind), but I guess I was looking for something cleaner and not so comic like. Personal opinion of course.
Overall a 4 star review and I can't wait to see where Vol 2 takes us.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I'm hooked!Feb. 13 2011
Andrea F. Jones
- Published on Amazon.com
A clever, very postmodern concept that treats Shakespearean plays as a fictional universe in the dark-fantasy tradition, *Kill Shakespeare* shows great promise. I'm pleased to see recognition that Juliet Capulet--as Shakespeare himself wrote her--is more than just a sweet, pretty young thing, and it's interesting to see how the author is spinning out Hamlet's epic indecision, though I'm not entirely convinced by the idea that the misogyny he displayed in the play (especially toward Ophelia) is just the result of awkwardness. I have a bit of a bone to pick about the treatment of Macbeth, too: he comes across as rather idiotic, which seems a bit unfair.
I won't say much about other character developments for fear of spoiling things, but I was pleased to see Tamora making an appropriately murderous and mysterious appearance, as well as the hint of interaction and competition among the kingdoms of Shakespeare's monarchs. The additional material involving Hecate tears down the fourth wall behind the fourth wall in a particularly intriguing way.
Overall, I enjoyed the beginning and am looking forward to the next volume.