Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare; Manga Shakespeare edition, illustrated by Emma Vieceli
I am always down for modern adaptions and different interpretations of the classics, especially if they use transmediation. Movies like "10 Things I Hate About You" (The Taming of the Shrew) down to a modern vlog of the "Lizzie Bennet Diaries" (Pride and Prejudice).
This version takes a sideways step into graphic novels/manga in order to tell the story. The words are straight Shakespeare but the illustrations and layout move the story along like a visual play would. I'm sure there are people who prefer the original in all things but I think this would overlook the fact that things like this offer a gateway into intimidating literature.
Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare's comedies and was probably written in 1598 or 1599. The option below does cut some of the play to work into the graphic format, but it's not super obvious to me.
Title: Manga Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing
Author: William Shakespeare, Richard Appignanesi (adaptor), Emma Vieceli (illustrator)
Page Number: 208 paperback
Genre: classic, manga, graphic art, romance, humor, play
Publisher: Self Made Hero, a division of Metro Media Ltd.
Much Ado is a romantic comedy that revolves around obstacles presented to two young lovers as well as a merry war of the sexes.
Don Pedro sends his followers to play a trick on Benedick and Beatrice. The trick is to convince them that they are actually secretly in love with one another...which ends up working as Benedick and Beatrice fall in love.
Don John is scheming against his brother, Don Pedro, and sends his followers to concoct a ruse in order to ruin the marriage of Claudio and Hero, in order to embarrass Don Pedro and drive a wedge between his followers and himself. This ruse works and Claudio storms off at the altar, leaving Hero bereft. This causes much agony amongst Hero's family and Don Pedro's followers as they don't agree with the slander leveled against Hero.
Don John's followers are later arrested after they boast about their successful plan in public, leading to the reunification of Hero and Claudio.
The play itself is a fascinating look at the society that cultivated it, albeit in a comedic way. It's a comedy of manners that deals with the theme of deception throughout.
I love the idea of works that might seem boring to young adult (or even adult) readers given a fresh look in order to appeal to a wider range. I have a couple different Manga Shakespeare although Emma Vieceli's artwork is my favorite from all I own. If you want to see more of her artwork from this book, the publisher's own page has about six page excerpts.
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