Every now and then, an idea comes along that's such an easy sell that you wonder why nobody else got to it first. Conor McCreery, Anthony Del Col and Andy Belanger's Kill Shakespeare is definitely one of those, a massive team-up of William Shakespeare's greatest heroes and villains, rising up to kill the playwright that controls their lives. And fortunately, it's not just a good idea, it's actually a really good comic too.

Now, thanks to IDW, the series is coming out in a massive, 400-page Backstage Edition, collecting the first 12-issue series, along with never-before-seen designs, sketches, art, and --- probably the most interesting hook for both new and long-time fans --- annotations from Oxford University's Katie Musgrave.


Image courtesy Conor McCreery


For those of you who aren't familiar with the series, it originally launched way back in 2010, focusing on a cast consisting of a pretty motley crüe of Hamlet, Juliet, Othello and Falstaff, facing off against the villainous gang of Richard III, Lady Macbeth (or Lady TheScottishPlay if you're prone to superstition), the Weird Sisters and Iago. And then, of course, there's Shakespeare himself, who pretty much everyone wants dead.

Particularly Hamlet.



But you know, if you were in a play that had an awesome pirate ship battle that happened completely offstage, you'd probably be a little cheesed off at the guy who wrote that, too.

Which, in a roundabout way, is where Musgrave comes in. One of the really neat things about Kill Shakespeare is how hard McCreery, Del Col and Belanger work to make everything fit with the existing structure of the plays (uh, Juliet's survival notwithstanding), and in her notes, Musgrave not only draws the connections to the original plays, but explains where they got all the stuff that was mentioned but never actually shown onstage. It's a really neat addition, and it's one of those things that, come the holidays, will probably make it a pretty solid gift for the English major in your life.

The Kill Shakespeare: Backstage Edition is out in June, with a list price of 49.99.