After putting together our FCBD 2017 Recommendations list, I couldn’t help picking up Kill Shakespeare on Tony’s suggestion.
The idea behind Kill Shakespeare is pretty straightforward. Step one: take the main characters of the playwright’s various works. Step two: set some on the path to reviving their messiah, the wizard Shakespeare. Step three: task others with destroying Shakes and stealing the source of his power, his quill. Then have the most noncommittal character in the canon try to pick a side.
As is often the case, the fun in Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col’s Elizabethan team-up story comes from its intricacies. Pulling Hamlet out of his story at the right moment, for instance; or reimagining Juliet as a revolutionary figure. But my favorite moments are the little things. At one point, Richard III mentions securing his borders against Titus. I can’t wait to see Titus Andronicus descend upon Richard’s kingdom. Falstaff also exists as an integral figure in Juliet’s camp, and I find myself waiting for him to desert her—after all*, what is honor but a word, and what is a word but air?
Artist Andy Belanger and Colorist Ian Herring give Kill Shakespeare a dense, shadowy look. Where Belanger’s work in Southern Cross had a pop art vibe, here it takes a pulpier turn. The deep shadows reminded me of Mike Mignola’s work. It’s not the look I’d have expected for a book about literary characters run amok, but it works well and looks good.
If you’re a person who gets excited at the idea of a Shakespearean crossover, then you should check out Kill Shakespeare. The more familiarity you have, the more you’ll get from it—recognizing lines from plays, anticipating betrayals, those sorts of things. Even without that, though, as long as you have a basic familiarity with these characters, you can enjoy the book.
- Kill Shakespeare, Vol. 1: A Sea of Troubles (#1-6)
Writers: Conor McCreery, Anthony Del Col | Artist: Andy Belanger | Colorist: Ian Herring | Letterers: Chris Mowry, Robby Robbins, Neil Uyetake | Editor: Tom Waltz