Saturday, March 15, 2008

International Shakespeare in the Comics Day

March 15 is International Shakespeare in the Comics Day!

Top 5 Shakespearean Comics:

1. The Mighty Thor by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Stan introduced a pseudo-Elizabethan language to this superhero series about Norse gods, lending the dialogue an epic, Shakespearian quality. As well, Kirby's creation of Volstagg, equal parts Falstaff and Porthos of the 3 Musketeers, introduced one of the more interesting secondary characters of the Marvel Universe.

2. Asterix and the The Great Divide

This retelling of Romeo and Juliet the first volume in the Asterix series to be written and drawn entirely by cartoonist Albert Uderzo after the death of his longtime partner Rene Goscinny and is a charming change of pace for Asterix and Obelix.

3. Oscar Zarate's Othello

Best know for his collaboration with Alan Moore on A Small Killing, this imaginative adaptation by the Argentinian Zarate is one of the best straight-up comic versions of the original play.

4. Julius Caesar by Wally Wood

The best comics adaptation of Julius Caesar is a parody of the 1954 Marlon Brando film version, illustrated by Wally Wood and written by Kurtzman and printed in MAD #17. MAD loves the bard, but this early piece is the best. Caesar got the full biographical treatment in Frontline Combat #8 (1952).

5. Batman, Dick Tracy and Spider-Man

Hardboiled Hamlets. All three of these characters are essentially revenge dramas (revenge melodramas?). All three are premised on the death of a father figure and the resulting metaphorical relentless, humourless, hunt for a killer. That's all I've got. I'm sure it's more complicated.

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