Review: Kill Shakespeare Vol. 1

Kill Shakespeare
Vol. 1

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I was an English major who would often make jokes about how William Shakespeare was our patron saint (his birthday fell near the end of the semester usually so that was a good day to try to appeal to him for help). Obviously, I like comics.

I don’t think I really need to explain how much I love Kill Shakespeare (IDW, 2010).

Pitting Hamlet, Juliet and Othello against the evil Richard III and Lady Macbeth as they all search for the mysterious wizard known to them as Shakespeare, the concept is ridiculously fun.

While Shakespeare is known for the beauty of his language, I think the non-English major types tend to not realize how violent and sexy his plays are, too. Co-creators and writers Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery blend both these sides with intelligence and playfulness. It’s the perfect mix of literary references and pulp entertainment.

Artist Andy Belanger also brings a good mix of beauty and horror to the title. Complimented by colorist Ian Herring, Belanger’s art switches between epic battle scenes and terrifying encounters to quieter, friendly moments between our main characters. He’s the perfect artist for this title.

While Kill Shakespeare doesn’t particularly require any special knowledge of Shakespeare to enjoy it (basically, if you read anything by Shakespeare in high school, you’ll be fine), there’s still quite a bit going on in this volume. As the first half of the story arc, it’s almost all setup and even though Del Col and McCreery keep things moving and accessible, there are a lot of pieces to keep track of.

But that just means you’ll want to keep reading. This comic isn’t so much about what happens as it is how. It’s a wonderfully smart comic that never disappoints. It will make you want revisit the work of
William Shakespeare himself. And that’s probably the coolest thing about it.

Co-creators Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery will be speaking at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., this Tuesday and it should be a good time.

Review copy provided by creators.

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