Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are chibi

January 8, 2007

Some press releases are just more fun than others. One landed in my in-box via SelfMadeHero, who will be publishing those manga adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays (starting with Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet in March).

“Emma Hayley, director of SelfMadeHero, says: ‘We are creating visually dynamic versions of the classics to make the books accessible, cool and understandable to new readers.’ Inspired by Baz Luhrmann’s film Romeo and Juliet, in the Manga Shakespeare series she decided to retain the original language and use the visual impact of manga to help re-tell the stories in an abridged version.”

Having a theatre background, I’ve seen what feels like more than my share of modernized Shakespeare, including a deeply ghastly Richard III, where the title monarch wandered through a field of dead bodies humming “Over the Rainbow”, and a Comedy of Errors where everyone wore casual cruise togs and some of the female characters kept striking Charlie’s Angels poses. But it doesn’t sound like SelfMadeHero is going to be taking quite those kinds of liberties.

Sonia Leong and Emma Vieceli, the creators working on the books, have been keeping a LiveJournal and sharing page scans (found via the Sweatdrop Forums).

Delayed reaction

January 8, 2007

I read Hideji Oda’s A Patch of Dreams (Fanfare/Ponent Mon) over the weekend, and I was clearly pretty intrigued by it, because I later had a nightmare that seemed to be based loosely on the story. It’s not that the manga is especially terrifying (though there are moments), but it clearly planted enough food for subconscious thought that I could find my dream self being stalked in a Paris suburb and, immediately upon waking, come to the conclusion that the dream was all Oda’s fault.

It’s possible that I’m placing too much causality on A Patch of Dreams and that it could more likely be pinned on the egg rolls I had for dinner. Either way, it’s an intriguing book, one I’m not quite ready to review formally, but it certainly conveys dream logic effectively. It’s one of those books that puts you in a sort of mental loop – maybe your response to the initial reading isn’t overwhelming, but as you consider aspects of the story, more and more thematic possibilities emerge.