Comic Review: Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: The Manga Edition
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By Shade

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: The Manga Edition
Written by William Shakespeare
Adapted by Adam Sexton
Art by Hyeondo Park
Cliff Notes/Wiley
Cover price: $9.99; Available now

When I was first given my assignment to review a manga form of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, I felt an emptiness inside and thought, “No, not again!” I, myself, am not much of a Shakespeare fan. It’s not that I couldn’t take all the old language or ever-elaborate descriptions, but I do feel that they slow the story down. Not the case with Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: The Manga Edition.

The language did not take that much of a hit, all the thou’s, thine’s, and wherefore’s are in place. It is Shakespeare’s descriptions that have become obsolete. Long, short, light, dark, old and young. Almost all the adjectives have been stripped from the pages, replaced by the work of artist Hyeondo Park. Also, the name of a color you will not hear, the entire story is illustrated in black and white. The only color is on the brilliantly illustrated cover.

By itself the Manga Edition of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is a good quick read, especially for someone who did not like the original, or needs to learn the story in a day (great for last-second book reports). A large group of people just don’t get Shakespeare, and this is for them. But I think its true potential could be to replace the original in Junior High and save that to be taught in High school (some people have already read Shakespeare’s stories twice by this point).

In closing the Manga Edition of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is an awesome idea. I am very interested and curious to see how well the other Shakespeare stories are retold. Adam Sexton has done a great job of retelling an old tale for a new generation, one that knows not the power of the written word, but stops short only for the flashing shininess of a pixelated screen.

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