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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

Classics Illustrated
No. 5 - Romeo and Juliet


Author: William Shakespeare
Artist: George Evans
Classic Comic Store Ltd
RRP: £2.99, US $4.99
ISBN: 978 1 906814 09 0
Available 02 March 2009

Romeo and Juliet is brought to life in comic book form thanks to this illustrated version of William Shakespeare's famous tale...

The Classics Illustrated series was originally printed over a 30 years period - from 1941 to 1971. It introduced generations of children to some of the most famous stories ever told. Now, Classic Comic Store Ltd is reprinting these publications so that a new generation of children can discover these classics tales.

Volume 5 is William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Sadly nowhere in this collection are we told what the original publishing date was for this comic book edition, something that I'm sure would be of interest to the more mature reader.

As this series is designed to get young readers interested in classic stories they would normally shy away from, I was a little surprised that the original language was used in this edition. Surely a better way of enticing people to read the original would be to have this comic book edition in plain English. That way young readers could discover the basic story here and then go on to grapple with Shakespeare's original.

At the back of this collection we also get a brief biography of Shakespeare; additional information on how to read Shakespeare; a page on what visiting a play was like back in Shakespeare's day; discussion topics; and a time line. I'm assuming that these were also originally targetted at schools, and the back section are also handy as teacher's notes.

What's great about this series is that it attempts to bring some of the best literature into the homes of children who would probably never discover the original books on their own. So, once they've read the comic book and know the story, there's a panel that entices them to search out the original book so that they can read the story as intended.

However, as I mentioned previously, because this isn't presented in plain English it will probably put a lot of children off discovering the original tale.


Darren Rea

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