Tuesday, March 22, 2011

King Lear / a graphic novel by Gareth Hinds; based on the play by William Shakespeare

For anyone who's ever been scared off by Shakespeare's plays (and accompanying film adaptations) owing to the difficult language barrier, there are now a variety of simply related, and surprisingly adept graphic-format versions which have steadily emerged over the past few years. Gareth Hinds, author and artist behind the successful Beowulf long form comic book (YP FIC HINDS), has now applied his hand to one of the great bard's tragic masterpieces. Hinds' caretaking of King Lear is refreshingly lucid and manageable, effortlessly eliciting Shakespeare's searing tale of ambition and defiance tempered by the passing of generations and family loyalty.

Clever with both the pen and the brush, the author displays both an artist's skill and a knack for getting the most out of what the play tries to say, his watercolored texture subtly producing the pained expressions of Lear, his creeping madness, and the individuality of his three daughters all plagued by fortune. All the while an odiously developing maelstrom develops in the heavens above, culminating with a brilliantly evocative conclusion. Even in abridged form with accompanying footnotes, the language is still a bit of a barrier but the reader can better get a handle on the breadth of the content, the meat of the moral conundrum and the depth of emotion as its drawn across the page in brisk though never understated fashion. While Lear is his most recently published work, Hinds other graphic adaptations of classic literature available include The Odyssey and The Merchant of Venice. (822.33 SHAKESPE)

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