William Shakespeare's Hamlet has gone through some ups and downs in the four hundred years since it was written. For every thrilling 19th century performance by Edwin Booth (slightly overshadowed by his brother), there's a version where 45-year-old Mel Gibson plays a college student. But that said, I feel confident in proclaiming that we are living in the greatest period in Hamlet's long history.
Not only are we in a time when Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be exists, but this week, Mallory Ortberg and Matt Lubchansky have reimagined the classic tragedy to focus on the lead character's angsty student status with Dirtbag Hamlet. Check out a few scenes below, and know this: They had me at "Enter Hamlet, skateboarding."
You're probably already familiar with Ryan North as the creator of Dinosaur Comics or the author of BOOM!'s Eisner award-winning Adventure Time series -- or possibly as the writer of the world's most in-depth critique of the novelization of Back to the Future -- but thanks to Kickstarter, he has another line on his resume: An author who decided his first attempt at a novel should be improving Hamlet.
And just how do you improve Hamlet? Easy. You turn it into an 800-page Choose Your Own Adventure style gamebook and raise enough money to stock it with illustrations by amazing webcomic artists, and make sure to actually put the pirate battle in there this time. I talked to North about his approach to the book, why he wanted to try his hand at a chooseable-path adventure, and why he gave Ophelia a bonus to science.
A UK comic publisher is ready to find out if a rose by any other name really would smell as sweet. Apparently Self Made Hero Comics, a relatively new house, is set to give Shakespeare a manga treatment with a series of novels this year based on his plays
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