Welcome to Indie Comic Spotlight, this month I’d like top present the IDW title ‘Kill Shakespeare’. Without a doubt the works of William Shakespeare have been an endless source of inspiration for writers and artists alike for centuries. Often people will either incorporate direct ideas from a work or Shakespeare himself into a new work. Sometimes people have attempted to redo a classic work, with varying degrees of success.
In ‘Kill Shakespeare’ the writers/creators, (Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery) not only incorporate the legendary author and his stories, but place Shakespeare as the focus of the story with both he and his characters appearing in the story at some point.
Rather than attempting to recreate or modernize an existing work, Del Col and McCreery created a new story and placed classic Shakespearean characters in it. With their histories intact, and regardless of what tale they originally appeared in characters such as Hamlet, Lady MacBeth, Juliet, Othello and Richard the 3rd interact in a whole new story with new characters.
In the new story Hamlet, banished from Denmark, travels to England where he meets Richard the 3rd who convinces him to steal Shakespeare’s quill (which has the power to bring people into being) with the promise of bringing Hamlet’s dead father back to life. What follows next is a wild tear through the world of Shakespeare with many classic characters appearing in new roles that are based on their history.
The story is filled with magic, wild adventures, exotic travels and new villains, (such as the cannibal pirate Lucius). While the dialogue and the narrative pay homage to the Elizabethan English (used in Shakespearean works), it uses it seamlessly with modern English. This gives both the narrative and the dialogue a unique rhythm that adds a layer of detail, which gives the overall story more credibility.
If both the premise and the idea sound like a complicated structure which could be hard to follow, then you’ll be pleased to know that clever, well thought out writing have meshed the characters and story line into a seamless easy to follow tale that never lacks for detail and punch.
Part of this comes from a love of Shakespearean works that both writers share that Anthony Del Col talks about in an email “Conor and I were both fans of Shakespeare from our high school days so when we came up with the idea of Kill Shakespeare in the midst of a fun brainstorming session, we started to geek out on the possibilities. We immediately imagined creating a story that would not only appeal to those that enjoy the Bard but more importantly those that haven’t been able to before; we wanted to create something that would be accessible to all.”
The title is broken into connected mini series, with each one propelling the story forward with it’s own unique focus while never loosing focus on the overall story arch. Not only have Del Col and McCreery created and consistently put out a solid title, but have also kept their eyes on future ideas for their title. “We’re thrilled that the comic book series has been so well received and we’re excited about our upcoming plans for our tales” states Del Col – the new The Mask of Night mini-series (currently in release), the upcoming board game (released in Aug/Sept), the special edition release of our first two books (Oct) and some other media that will appeal to whole new audiences.”
A strong, well written, fast paced story that is rich with detail and history, solid consistent art, (produced by Andy Belanger, Ian Herring and Kagan McLeod), a plan for future releases and a clever unique story set in a magical yet believable world make ‘Kill Shakespeare’ a title to add to your upcoming comic purchases.
John Goodale is the author of the book ‘Johnny Gora’ (available through Amazon) as well as the monthly TMRZoo.com column ‘Indy Comic Spotlight’ and other articles on this site.