Manga Classic Review: Macbeth

Macbeth by Crystal S. Chan

Macbeth
by Crystal S. Chan (Adaptor), Julien Choy (Illustrator), William ShakespeareMichael Barltrop (Modern English Adaptor)
4 out of 5 stars

Despite its popularity, MacBeth has never been one of my favorite Shakespearean plays. Too bloody and gory and gloomy for my taste. But if you like a dismal adventure with plenty of violence and mayhem, MacBeth has plenty of that! And this manga adaptation rings true with the moods and poetry of the original play. I like that the words of Shakespeare are modernized in a thoughtful way, and the artwork beautifully illustrates all the action and drama.

Each character has a memorable and striking appearance, and I found it especially interesting to see how MacBeth’s demeanor changed after he commits murder. His posture and facial expressions are different, and shadows gather around him in the darker shadows of the artwork. It’s a subtle but effective way of showing the development of his character, slowing falling into madness and despair.

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Book Review: Romeo and Juliet

Manga Classics Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Manga Classics Romeo and Juliet (Modern English Edition)
by William ShakespeareCrystal S. ChanJulien Choy (Illustrator)
5 out of 5 stars

This manga adaptation of Williams Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is the perfect way to introduce Shakespeare to readers who might feel intimidated by the original play. The text is modernized, but is still written in iambic pentameter, and still has the original rhymes of the play. The entire play is intact, and all the beauty of Shakespeare’s words comes through wonderfully in this modern adaptation.

I am so impressed with the way the text was modernized, and with the integrity and thoughtfulness that went into editing it. It really does feel like something that Shakespeare would have written if he had been alive today. There is no jarring modern slang to ruin the beauty of the lines. It feels like someone just translated the words from another language, and made it easy to understand for modern readers, but without losing any of the flavor and emotion of the original text.

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Manga Review: Othello

Othello by Stacy King

Othello
by Stacy King (Goodreads Author) (Adaptor), Crystal S. Chan (Contributor), Julien Choy (Illustrator), William Shakespeare (Original Author)
5 out of 5 stars

General Othello is newly married to the beautiful Desdemona. Iago is jealous of Othello’s high position in the military, and pretends to be Othello’s friend, but swears to get his revenge by making Othello miserable any way he can. Iago spreads lies that Desdemona has been unfaithful to her new husband, and plants a seed of suspicion in Othello’s mind. Once Othello’s heart is poisoned by Iago’s lies, it means tragedy for everyone involved.

I am so impressed with this graphic novel! The artwork is beautiful and each panel shows a clear story. The classic story of Othello retains all its integrity, and the characters are powerfully depicted. This edition uses the original words of Shakespeare, and I enjoyed revisiting this beautiful play in a new format.

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Classic Manga Review: Frankenstein

Manga Classics by M.  Chandler

Manga Classics: Frankenstein
by M. Chandler (Story Adaptation), Linus Liu (Art by), Daria Rhodes (Lettering), Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (From the original novel by)
4 out of 5 stars

Dr. Frankenstein becomes obsessed with the idea of infusing life into a created being, but when he succeeds, he is horrified at what he has done and runs from his creation, leaving it to fend for itself. Frankenstein’s monster roams the country, searching for his creator and finding only hatred and fear in everyone he meets. He vows to get revenge on the man who made him, and goes on a killing spree.

I thought the artwork did a wonderful job of showing the gothic melodrama and darkness of the story. There are many scenes that use shadows to show the tension in the characters. The art makes their intense emotions explode onto the page.

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Graphic Novel Review: The Iliad

The Iliad by Gareth Hinds
The Iliad 
by Gareth Hinds 

2 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This graphic novel retelling of Homer’s Iliad was not quite what I expected. It’s much too word-heavy for a graphic novel, and I found myself bogged down in the text. Most of the panels have so much text that there is barely room for the artwork. And the artwork itself is nothing special. I didn’t care for the cartoony look, and it just didn’t grab my attention. It looks somewhat amateur, or hastily drawn.

If you are a big fan of the Iliad, you might like this, but I did not enjoy reading it. Usually I love classical literature, and I have read The Iliad before, so I was happy to be revisiting the story of the Trojan War with all the drama. But this book does not deliver drama. It feels stale and static, like the characters are all made of stone.

Disappointed in this one. Continue reading

Manga Review: MacBeth

Manga Classics by Crystal S. Chan
Manga Classics: Macbeth 
by Crystal S. Chan (Adapted by),William ShakespeareJulien Choy (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Despite its popularity, MacBeth has never been one of my favorite Shakespearean plays. Too bloody and gory and gloomy for my taste. But if you like a dismal adventure with plenty of violence and mayhem, MacBeth has plenty of that! And this manga adaptation rings true with the moods and poetry of the original play. I like that the exact dialogue of the play is used in this manga, and the artwork beautifully illustrates all the action and drama. Continue reading

Manga Review: Romeo and Juliet

Manga Classics by Crystal S. Chan
Manga Classics: Romeo and Juliet 
by Crystal S. Chan (Adapter)William ShakespeareJulien Choy (Artist)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

With all the original dialogue of the play, this manga adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet bursts with old enchantment and romantic drama. The illustrations flow from one panel to the next in a surge of emotional tension, and the action keeps the wordy dialogue from weighing down the storyline.

This would be a great way to introduce Shakespeare to younger audiences, since the dialogue is easier to understand along with the action of the panels. Continue reading

Recent Reads: Middle Grade, Comics + Manga

 

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Disclaimer: Some of these books were received from the publisher/author via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.
*Review copies are marked with asterisk in the video. Continue reading

Manga Review: Count of Monte Cristo

Manga Classics by Crystal S. Chan
Manga Classics: The Count of Monte Cristo 
by Crystal S. Chan (Story Adaptation)Alexandre DumasNokman Poon (Art by)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Edmond Dantes is betrayed by a coworker who wants his job, a romantic rival who will steal his bride, and a crooked government prosecutor with a dark secret to hide. Thrown into prison for decades, Dantes eventually escapes, becomes fabulously wealthy, and vows revenge on those who ruined his life.

Count of Monte Cristo is one of my top five favorite novels of all time, so I was interested to see how one of my favorite stories would translate into manga form. Although they had to simplify the story considerably, and there are really too many characters for a stand-alone manga, I enjoyed this wonderful adaptation of a classic tale!
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