Kill Shakespeare the comic book

Yesterday on National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation host Neil Conan, a self professed comic book geek, interviewed Conor McCreery and Anthony del Col co-writers of Kill Shakespeare a 12 book series that came out last month. The idea behind the series is to write a story that pits many of the heroes and villains of Shakespeare against each other when King Richard dupes Hamlet into hunting down and killing a man named William Shakespeare. McCreery and del Col came up with the idea while watching Kill Bill. As I listened to the interview I became excited by the idea of reading and seeing a combined story centered on the Bards plays.

McCreery and del Col, after coming up with the idea, felt the ideal format for their work (besides cinema) would be a graphic book. As McCreery explains in the interview, Shakespeare wanted his work to be seen and experienced and that comic books mesh the visual with the words. Both writers hope that high school students will become interested in Shakespeare and adults will become interested in comics; or at least enjoy Shakespeare in a new form.

As a big Shakespeare fan I fell for the writers’ idea and on my lunch break went over to the local comic book store to pick up the first book. Lucky for me the owner of the store was just about to place next month’s order; he was not going to order any more but because I bought the first book the next two will be on their way soon. Sadly, I am the only person who bought the first. I ended up buying two. I gave one to a co-worker who loves comics and good books. We will see what he thinks of this attempt to gain new Shakespeare admirers.

The plot is fairly simple: after being banished from Denmark Hamlet finds himself shipwrecked in a strange land. King Richard rescues him and offers Hamlet shelter. The king tells Hamlet it has been prophesized by the king’s three seers (think witches of Mac Beth) that Hamlet with save Richard’s land. All Hamlet has to do is hunt a man down named William Shakespeare and steal his quill. As a reward Richard promises Hamlet his father will be brought back from the dead. Hamlet agrees not knowing he really has to kill Shakespeare. Along Hamlet’s quest McCreery and del Col promise the readers will see everyone from Lady Mac Beth to Puck.

I had a doctor’s appointment this afternoon so as I waited I picked up the comic. It probably took me about 10 minutes to read it, but only 5 to fall in love with the drawings and the story. Oh how I wish this was a graphic novel! I would have read it in one sitting! The graphics are very well done and the story pulls you right in. I highly recommend finding this series.

For more here is the link to the interview and official Kill Shakespeare website:

Battle of the Bard and The Lost CIty of Z

I have a confession to make; I live in Nevada but I don’t gamble. I know, you may be thinking that since I live here I don’t gamble because it appeals only to tourists. It is one of those things locals don’t do but visitors flock to. Not so, Nevada makes it so easy to gamble by putting slot machines everywhere,( and I do mean everywhere), I suspect it is the state past time. Slots are in all stores, Laundromats, airports and all bars and restaurants. As easy as it is, I stay away from the slots as I know the house always wins. I don’t play fantasy football and hate betting in office pools but this week I saw a game I just had to participate in. After all it involves my love of Shakespeare and being right. LOL!

The ladies at goodbooksinc have put together a fantasy football type game that pits Shakespeare plays against each other to answer the questions “which is the greatest Shakespeare play?” Each week two plays are voted on then the winners are pitted against other winner until only two remain. I believe the game goes on for 15 weeks and oh what fun these weeks will be! If you like Shakespeare I urge you to join us. The more participants the better. What a great way for us lit geeks to feel like “normal “people; finally we have something worth wild to bet on. I have a feeling I know which play will win, and will be eager to see if I am right.
One of the many cool things about this game is that we will get to learn a little more about the Bard and his plays. Even if you are not a serious lover of the Bard,come play. We will all learn a thing or two.

The Lost City of Z by David Grann

I heard about this book about a year ago, but it was not until my fellow blogger Peter from KyusiReader wrote his fantastic review that I decided to read it. Warning; do not read this book when eating, after eating or thinking about eating. It contains bugs, maggots and vampire bats. This is not a book for the squeemsh!

Grann hears about a late Victorian adventurer named Percy Fawcett who disappeared while looking for a fabled (?) ancient city in the heart of the Amazon. Fawcett spent many years exploring and mapping the Amazon and in his travels became convinced there was a city that many called El Dorado, the city of gold. In 1925 Fawcett, his son and his son’s best friend set out to where Fawcett is convinced the city lays. It is during this trip that they disappear, never to be heard from again. Over 80 years later Grann sets out to seek out answers to their disappearance.

The book is well written, though it is nonfiction it almost reads as a good adventure novel. Grann jumps back in forth in time so the reader sometimes travels with Fowler, other times with Grann. It is almost too much to believe that Grann, who is not an adventurer, sets out for the Amazon in order to retrace Fowler and his crew. Many explorers over time had tried to find Fowler only to disappear themselves. Some came back with tales of cannibals, hostile tribes and horrors of the jungle. Grann knows all of this but sets out anyway.

I was hooked from the beginning and could not put the book down. I love a good disappearance story and wanted, no needed to have this mystery solved. I found myself shuttering as I read of the harsh and inhuman conditions these explorers endured. Having flies and bees lay eggs in living flesh made my skin crawl, but since I was in the comfort of my own home, I read on. The book is not only an adventure read it is an amazing history of South American exploration and the founding of the Royal Geographical Society. I highly recommend it for anyone who has ever wondered what it would take to be a full time explorer or wondered what kind of men these early Victorian mappers and cartographers were. If you liked Into Thin Air you will no doubt like this book; just remember eating while reading this is out of the question!

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