GRAPHIC NOVELS

Hamlet

Udon Entertainment. (Manga Classics). Sept. 2019. 468p. adapted by adapted by Crystal S. Chan. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781947808119; pap. $17.99. ISBN 9781947808126.
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Gr 7 Up–Chan and Choy’s latest manga adaptation is a dramatic, striking version of Shakespeare’s tale of murder and madness. Prince Hamlet’s late father, the king of Denmark, was murdered by his brother Claudius, who then married the queen and took the throne. After discovering the truth, Hamlet hatches a plan to expose his usurping uncle. He feigns madness, stages a play to induce Claudius to confess, and competes in a duel that ends in four deaths, including his own. The expressive artwork conveys the fear, resentment, and madness that are central to this play. Hamlet’s emo-kid styling and devastating glares make his disaffection and disdain all the more palpable. Chan and Choy visualize Shakespeare’s metaphors by depicting animals roaring and slithering through scenes. They don’t shy away from the violence of the play; there are blood splatters galore, and Hamlet’s father’s death by poisoning is particularly grisly. The book concludes with information from Chan about her research on Danish castles. Udon offers teacher guides with lesson plans for its adaptations, which teachers using the book will find helpful.
VERDICT This vividly violent tale will appeal to ambitious manga readers and can serve as supplemental material for the study of Hamlet.

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