If I wanted to give a comic book reader a quick idea of Kill Shakespeare I’d probably say it’s like Fables only with you know… Shakespearian characters. Because, well, it is. Which is cool, because I like Fables.
Pulling this off with characters and settings from probably the best known name in western literature is a bit more difficult than shuffling around already heavily used fairy tale characters though. There are certain expectations here.
One thing you won’t get is full on Shakespearian verse. The writer makes no effort to mimic Shakespeare’s writing style in that sense. He does pull out the thees and thous on a regular basis though and also throws in some clever nods and references to various bits of dialogue that most of us will recognize. It’s probably for the best. More than that would likely have been distracting.
In this universe Shakespeare is a creator. He’s the creator of most if not all of the characters we meet and interact with. Being the third volume in the series, you are expected to know something about what is going on by this point, but I found it pretty easy to get up to speed and if you can’t… well there’s always wikipedia right?
The story itself is a fairly simple one, but effectively told and it’s interesting to see how the familiar names and characters slowly twist and morph outside of their traditional stories. It doesn’t entirely feel like a complete story though. I mean this adventure does reach and end, but it just feels like it’s all set up for the next one. A minor criticism.
In terms of art, it’s quite cartoony and yet seems to fit the material very well. Andy Belanger clearly has a firm grip on storytelling and uses panels effectively on the page. In places it does seem choppy and abrupt, but again that fits with what is happening in the story at the time.
Not a must read book, but certainly interesting. I’d say give it a look, particularly if you like things like Fables.
Kill Shakespeare Vol 3 will be released on October 1st 2013: http://amzn.to/18Z2NMY