Please Don’t Kill Shakespeare

Noticed that there’s a new comic store in the town where I work, right next to where we sometimes get lunch. So I walked in one day and asked, “Got any Shakespeare?”  You know, like ya do. I’m actually on the lookout for a bobblehead, I don’t have one of those yet.

He comes out with the entire set of Kill Shakespeare Volume 3: The Tide of Blood.

I originally mentioned Kill Shakespeare back in 2010 when I first heard about it but never put up a review because, quite honestly, I didn’t like it. It has nothing to do with Shakespeare. It’s not a version or interpretation of any Shakespeare story that you know. It takes the names and presumed mannerisms of Shakespeare’s characters (Hamlet is moody, Lady Macbeth is violent …) and writes a whole new story, using some weird bastardization of what’s supposed to sound like Shakespearean English.

But, still, the guy did go dig it up for me in the back room, it is a complete set, and I don’t want to walk out of there with nothing so I buy it and give it another try.

Nope, still don’t like it.

Let’s see – Juliet has dumped Romeo for Hamlet. Othello is in this for some reason although I can’t figure out what, because he doesn’t do anything. Lady Macbeth is a bad guy, as always. Prospero is the big bad guy in this one, trying to steal control of the universe from Shakespeare himself. We learn this from Miranda, who has escaped the island where her father has given her to Caliban to be repeatedly raped and impregnated.

Yup, go ahead and read that a few times.  She’s a cutter now. You know, to let the poison out. Still with me?

Here’s some sample dialogue:

“That is why you must stay. So that thou can end the tragedy of Hamlet.”

“I did not expect such help from thee, Prospero. You have my thanks.”

“I used to like thee, Prospero. Thou remind’st me of me. Gods, I must have been such a pretentious bore.”

Is it me or are they just randomly throwing in “thee” and “thou” whenever they think it will sound more Shakespearean? They do realize that those had actual meaning, right?

I think that this comic is mostly appreciate by fans of comics who want to talk about the story entirely as a comic (rather than as anything to do with Shakespeare) and the visuals (what do they call it, the coloring? the inking? I have no idea). I wonder if any actual Shakespeare Geeks are reading this and enjoying it. I sure didn’t. Every time I see them in the news – a board game? a stage play? – I think “Do people think this has anything to do with Shakespeare?”

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One thought on “Please Don’t Kill Shakespeare

  1. I hated it too. And I'm both a Shakespeare and Comic Book fanatic. It was just pointless. And aggravating, because it didn't have to be. In a better telling, the idea that Prospero brought all these characters together could be fascinating. But it's not. It's just bad. And vile.

    But if you want a great Shakespeare/Comic experience, check out Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN. Woof, that was good.

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