The Scottish graphic novel


Don’t know if we have to be superstitious about this graphic book. Maybe not. After all, I’m sort of in it. I mean Macbeth, in his new graphic form. And he meets some witches, but none of them are anywhere near as good looking as I am.

As one of the enthusiastic quotes on the back says, it’s surprising nobody has done Shakespeare in graphic form before. It’s such an obvious thing. And an easy way to proper literature, I’d say. Thinking back to my university days, far too many people seemed to read the study guides instead of the book, rather than as well as. Not me.

On the other hand, I had never read Macbeth before, so this was a nice way of doing it. Shakespeare as a comic, albeit with a good many complicated words. But the pictures really help, and I’d hope the illustrations would entice young readers of the Bard. It can’t even count as cheating, surely, as it’s all there.

A comic full of well known quotes, half of which I didn’t know where they came from. But now I know it’s Macbeth. And a Harry Potter rock group, if I’m not mistaken.

If schools had money, this would be a good book to buy. But they never have any.

6 responses to “The Scottish graphic novel

  1. About twenty-five years ago I had a graphic edition of Macbeth, by the Brazilian comic artist Von, and very good it was too. It’s gone walkabout at some point in the past but it was very real and I thought it a brilliant idea. Macbeth seems particularly well-suited to the genre. A publisher picked up on the idea but missed the point – contemporary artists were recruited rather than comic artists and the result was a bit precious. I had the Lear too, but that didn’t work nearly as well. I think there was a Twelfth Night but then I think the project ran out of steam.

  2. Oh, and I meant to say – a graphic novel interpretation isn’t a substitute for proper critical study. It’s an interpretation, like any stage production, and it carries its own assumptions about meaning. Which is not to say it has any less value than a staged production.

    Did you see my post on Shakespeare Day yesterday?

  3. Hi Enitharnom, the series included Othello too.
    I’m looking at that version of Macbeth as I type.
    One of the challanges for them was keeping it to 90 ish pages. Which means the pages became ‘text-heavy’. Agreed, the art provides an interpretation. The emphasis, however, will remain with the reader. We’ve included pages about the real Macbeth, Shakespeare and his times, to encourage further research and study.
    I’ve now witnessed ten year old boys picking up a Shakespeare play and reading it for sheer enjoyment. How great is that!!

  4. <> – equally, if publishing companies had any sense about them, they’d whip up a cheap version and flog them wholesale to schools.

    I’ve always thought this was a really good idea; one of the better ways of making Shakespeare accessable to kids who’d usually find reading plays completely alien.

    Cheerio, Michael. xxx

  5. Meant to quote, ‘If schools had money, this would be a good book to buy. But they never have any.’ But for some reason it disappeared.

    Dark sorcery afoot here on WordPress, it would seem.

    Cheerio, Michael. xxx

  6. This makes perfect sense. The plays are designed to be suited most to a visual interpretation – performance! – after all. A graphic novel is simply a way of simulating such a production, if you will, on the page. Only the ‘acting’ is a joint product of the images and the reader’s imagination.

    And comic art is so much better suited than the ‘precious’ art mentioned above, because it is used to conveying a moving, dynamic style. It’s far more of a language in that sense; a ‘graphic’ way of storytelling.

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