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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Manga Review: Anne of Green Gables

Manga Classics Anne of Green Gables by Crystal Chan

Manga Classics Anne of Green Gables
by Crystal Chan (Editor), Kuma Chan (Artist), L.M. Montgomery (Author)
5 out of 5 stars

In this classic story, Anne is an orphan who comes to live with Marilla and Matthew. She has an overactive imagination and a talent for getting into mischief, but she is delighted with her new home at Green Gables.

Condensing such a complex and deep story into manga form works very well here, and the plot closely follows the original story. Even the dialogue is almost always exactly the same as the book.

I loved the artwork so much! Beautiful panels in every chapter that draw you into the story. The artwork brings a lot of emotion into the story, and firmly connects the reader to the characters. Seeing the expressions on character’s faces as they experience joy, grief, fear, sadness, or relief, made me feel those things too as I was reading!

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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

Manga Review: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Manga Classics by Crystal Chan
Manga Classics: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 
by Crystal Chan (Goodreads Author) (Adapted by)Kuma Chan (Art by)Jeannie Lee (Lettering)Mark Twain (Original novel)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

A wonderful adaptation of Mark Twain’s Adventure of Huckleberry Finn into manga form! I think the authors and illustrators did an excellent job of condensing the story into a small volume without losing the integrity or flavor of the story. I love how the various accents of the characters are preserved, but the dialogue is still clear and easily understood.

The artwork brings a lot of emotion into the story, and firmly connects the reader to the characters. Seeing the expressions on character’s faces as they experience joy, grief, fear, sadness, or relief, made me feel those things too as I was reading!
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