A shrewd and spirited adaptation that will leave audiences hoping for another installment.

CHESHIRE CROSSING

The action of this graphic fantasy takes place Second Star to the Right, straight on through the Looking Glass, in a place that is definitely not Kansas anymore!

Novelist Weir (yes, the Weir of The Martian fame) and cartoonist/illustrator Andersen’s deliciously funny debut team-up reunites the heroines from three of the Victorian era’s most memorable children’s books and sends them on a rollicking adventure. All teenagers, Wendy Darling, Dorothy Gale, and Alice Liddell are united at a special research facility where their parents send them to be educated. Under the tutelage of the enigmatic Dr. Rutherford and the ever watchful eye of a certain nanny who flies via umbrella, each girl discovers her powers and a sense of personal agency as they team up to free their respective fantasy lands from the combined menace of the Wicked Witch of the West and Capt. Hook. Each heroine emerges as a fully three-dimensional protagonist with a distinctive personality that enables her to feel both timeless and timely. The tart-tongued Alice is not averse to dropping the occasional “#%$@,” while tomboyish Wendy is as battle savvy as Peter ever was. Andersen’s delightful cartoon drawing style meshes perfectly with Weir’s prose, allowing the work to broaden its appeal beyond middle graders to young adults and adults. In the illustrations, Alice and Wendy both present white while Dorothy has brown skin.

A shrewd and spirited adaptation that will leave audiences hoping for another installment. (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-58207-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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