Manga Shakespeare is a series of graphic novel adaptations of William Shakespeare’s plays. A fusion of classic Shakespeare with manga visuals, these are cutting-edge adaptations that will intrigue and grip readers. Drawing inspiration from trend-setting Japan and using Shakespeare’s original texts, this series brings to life the bard’s words for students, Shakespeare enthusiasts and manga fans.
Manga is a dynamic, emotional and cinematic medium easily absorbed by the eye. Its attractive art and simple storytelling methods enthuse readers to approach Shakespeare’s work in the way he intended – as entertainment.
The first Manga Shakespeare books – Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet – were published in March, to great critical acclaim in the UK. With Romeo and Juliet set in modern-day Tokyo, and Hamlet in a cyberworld, these backdrops make Shakespeare more accessible to today’s reader. Richard III and The Tempest were then released in September 2007 and A Midsummer Night’s Dream was published in February 2008. There are more titles in the series to follow including Macbeth and Julius Caesar in June and As You Like It and Othello due in November.
Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s most famous love story, unfurls in a dramatic manga setting, in which Verona becomes a street in the highly fashionable Shibuya district of Tokyo. The star-crossed lovers, touching in their youth and innocence, are caught up in a bitter feud between two Yakuza families (Japan’s ‘mafia’) whose rivalry erupts into violence and killing on the streets. Romeo, a rock star, is a Montague who falls in love with Juliet, a Capulet. They defy their parents and consummate their passion in secret. This is a story of love, revenge, violence and tragedy.
Hamlet is set in a dramatic futuristic world. The year is 2017. Global climate change has devastated the Earth. This is now a cyberworld in constant dread of war. The state of Denmark has grown prosperous and defended itself successfully against neighbouring states. But could it be that its greatest threat comes not from without, but from within the state itself?
It is in this cyberworld that we find the young Hamlet. His grief over his father’s recent death turns to something far darker when the ghost of his father appears to him. Hamlet is very soon to discover that something is rotten in the state of Denmark…
SelfMadeHero, winner of the UK Young Publisher of the Year award for 2008, is an imprint of Metro Media Ltd, a UK-based book publisher specializing in manga and graphic novels.
In related news, the publisher introduced the Eye Classics series in October 2007, transforming classic literature into another art form. The books feature acknowledged leaders in the world of graphic novels and bandes dessinées. Titles include The Trial, Nevermore, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Master and Margarita, and Crime and Punishment.
While you’re surfing, check out another UK publisher of illustrated classics: Classical Comics.