A solid addition to the Manga Classics series of literary adaptations.

FRANKENSTEIN

Aboard a North Pole expedition ship, a gaunt Victor Frankenstein recounts the events that led him to the Arctic in this adaptation of the original 1818 version of Mary Shelley’s classic.

As a youth, Frankenstein had an interest in natural philosophy, which led him to pursue scientific studies at the University of Ingolstadt. His mastery of the curriculum progressed swiftly, and his thirst for knowledge turned toward the arcane—specifically, to the origin of life, which Frankenstein discovered after nights of grisly research and a moment of electrifying inspiration. He applied his discovery to the construction of a massive being, and on one fateful evening, he brought the being to life. What follows is a struggle between creator and creation, each presented as villain and victim and alike in wretchedness. Illustrator Liu vividly depicts Frankenstein’s and the creature’s emotions, capturing the force of their rage and horror. Frankenstein’s eyes are especially expressive, giving greater impact to the scenes in which his face is partially obscured. Visual details are concentrated on the foreground, with panel backgrounds frequently blank, filled by a gradient, or lightly sketched. This serves to draw readers’ attention to the characters, though the simplicity of the background art also detracts from scenes meant to highlight the sublimity of nature. Characters are depicted as White.

A solid addition to the Manga Classics series of literary adaptations. (cast of characters, how to read manga, character design sketchbook, artist's note, adaptor’s note) (Graphic novel. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947808-16-4

Page Count: 324

Publisher: Manga Classics

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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: tomorrow

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sure winner for any reader with a yen to become permanently terrified. Brilliant.

THROUGH THE WOODS

A print and Web comics artist offers five creep-out chillers (four new) with folk-tale motifs and thoroughly disquieting art.

Well-placed lines of terse, hand-lettered commentary and dialogue reinforce narrative connections but are also as much visual elements as are the impenetrable shadows, grim figures, and stark, crimson highlights in Carroll’s inky pictures. Making expert use of silent sequences, sudden close-ups and other cinematic techniques to crank up the terror, the author opens and closes in a dimly lit bedroom (much like yours), bookending the five primary stories. In “Our Neighbor’s House,” a trio of sisters are taken one by one by a never-seen smiling man. In the next, a bride discovers that “A Lady’s Hands Are Cold”—as are the other pieces (seen in close, icky detail) of her husband’s dismembered but not entirely dead former wife. Two cases of supernatural possession (“His Face All Red” and “My Friend Janna”) follow. The collection is capped by a true screamer in which a teenager’s memories of her mother’s tales of a cellar-dwelling monster with a “sweet, wet voice” segue into a horrific revelation about her pretty new sister-in-law. Lonely houses, dark woods and wolves? Check. Spectral figures with blood-red innards? Check. Writhing tentacles bursting from suddenly inhuman mouths? Check!

A sure winner for any reader with a yen to become permanently terrified. Brilliant. (Graphic horror. 13-18)

Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6595-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more