Graphic Novel Review: Kill Shakespeare Vol. 1 by Conor Mcreery and Anthony Del Col

4

April 25, 2012 by Heidi

Title: Kill Shakespeare Vol. 1 [Amazon|GoodReads]
Author: Conor McCreery, Anthony Del Col
Art: Andy Belanger (pencils), Ian Herring (inker), Kagan McLeod (covers)
Standing: First in a two-volume series.
Genre: Graphic Novel
Published: November 9th, 2010 by IDW Publishing
Format: Paperback; 148 pages.
Source: Borrowed from my local library.
Hamlet is exiled to England after his father’s untimely death.  On the journey, his ship is attacked, and he washes up on shore at the feet and mercy of Richard III.  Richard claims that Hamlet has been sent to fulfill prophecy as the Shadow King.  He is the only one who can find the wizard, William Shakespeare and kill him.  Others, however, have different ideas about this prophecy.  They believe the Shadow King is to find Shakespeare, but return him to them and deliver them from the evil Richard.  Richard desires to obtain Shakespeare’s quill, which holds vast amounts of power; the people wish to overthrow his tyrannical rule.So.  I can pretty easily say that this is the worst graphic novel I have ever read.  My boyfriend informs me that I’ve been spoiled.  I only started reading graphic novels about 3 years ago, and in that time I’ve had nothing but the greats to consume–Sandman, Watchmen, Fables, Transmetropolitan, etc.  I only recently started branching out and selecting my own graphic reads beyond what’s been recommended to me.  My first selection was American Vampire, which was very decent if not the love of my life; the second was A Flight of Angels.  I loved it, it was visually the most beautiful graphic novel I’ve read to date, and the story was there to back it up.  To me, Kill Shakespeare failed on both accounts.

What did I expect from Kill Shakespeare?  Well, every little blurb kept screaming at me “THIS IS LIKE FABLES BUT WITH SHAKESPEARE INSTEAD OF FAIRY TALES”.  And I suppose it would be.  If Fables had half-hearted art, no character development, and rushed plot lines.  So needless to say, I had expectations that were a fair bit higher than what was delivered to me.  

Maybe I just don’t know my Shakespeare well enough to appreciate this (though I feel like I know it fairly well), but I found the plot jerked instead of flowed, and didn’t really make a whole lot of sense when it came right down to the details…Hamlet, supposedly the prophesied savior of both sides of a fledgling battle, is more-or-less led around by the nose by the villains, ignoring mounting evidence against them and refusing to throw in with those rebelling against their evil overlord without first being slapped over the head with a frying pan full of ‘you’re batting for the wrong team’ omelets.  I guess this would have been fine if I cared about the story, but I didn’t.  The wizard, William Shakespeare, was mentioned only as slightly more than a legend, and unfortunately there was no real build to back up the evil deeds of Richard III and the unrest of the people rising to rebel.  

If Kill Shakespeare could have been stretched out as a longer series, maybe it would have been stronger.  As is, I feel like they were really pushing to get every major character into six issues of story.  But without some history given, or time to build up to the conflict, it’s hard to illicit any interest.

Likelihood that I’ll be back for more:  I have zero interest in reading volume 2.

Recommended for:  There’s a chance that bigger Shakespeare fans who haven’t been ‘spoiled’ by fantastic graphic novels like I have will enjoy this more than I did, but I wouldn’t really recommend this one for anyone.

Real life repercussions of reading this book:  I have a thing against grown ass women wearing pig tails, and this book didn’t help.  You hear me Juliet and 42 year old chick from NCIS?!  If you’re old enough to have a kid with pig tails, you’re too old to wear them.  Braids are okay.

Get a second opinion:
Have you reviewed Kill Shakespeare Vol. 1? Please let me know so that I can include your link here. Would love to present some more positive reactions.

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4 comments »

  1. Alyssa says:

    Well, I laughed out loud at your NCIS mention. PIGTAILS ON ADULTS CREEP ME OUT, OKAY?!? It is just weird and creepy and just no. Also, I am disappointed that you didn't like this, I feel like it will make me throw things so I don't think I will read it either..

  2. Heidi says:

    Hahaha, thanks. I'm not even kidding when I say those pigtails are the #1 reason I don't watch that show. And yes, as a huge Shakespeare fan, I think this might make you want to throw things. It was so. Not. Fables.

  3. Oh noooo! This graphic novel looks so good as well! If I saw it in a shop I would probably buy it…so I'm glad I read this review first! It sounds just terrible! I adore the cover though…I like a quill as much as the next person! Great review- I feel your passion transmitting through the computer!P.S- I just purchased the first volume of Fables (I think it may be the first couple of comics in a hadcover edition) because you made me really want to read it…and it looks beautiful! I'll let you know what I think when I get it! P.P.S- How many exclamation marks did I have to use in this comment?! << One more. x

  4. Heidi says:

    OMG YES I CANNOT WAIT TO HEAR WHAT YOU THINK OF FABLES!!!!!<-Clearly exclamation points are necessary.The first storyline isn't quite a good as the rest of the series, because it's not as tied into the overall long-plot. I'm guessing they weren't sure there would be more at the point when they started. It gets so so good though, I really hope you like it!And yes, the cover work for this one was awesome and I was so hopeful, but it was really a let down.

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While the source for each book I review is posted within its review, please assume unless otherwise stated that books reviewed on Bunbury in the Stacks were received free from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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