Wednesday, November 16, 2011

3 STARS | Manga Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice

Title: Manga Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice
Series: Manga Shakespeare
Author: William Shakespeare
Adapter: Richard Appignanesi
Artist: Faye Yong
Age Group: Young Adult
Genres: Graphic Novels, Classics
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-0810997172
Published: March 1st, 2011
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★

The Merchant of Venice, one of the Bard's most enduring plays, explores themes of forgiveness, prejudice, and fairness, all of which remain vital topics today. In the Manga Shakespeare version, the setting and themes of the play take on new meaning as adapted by the artists guiding the series. Whether readers are fans of the Bard or of manga, this is a story that will captivate and engage, even after four hundred years.

With most of Shakespeare's writings, it can be difficult to understand. The Manga Shakespeare series is supposed to use the original text and art to make it easier to understand and more fun.

I think personally, having never read The Merchant of Venice before, that the play would have been easier to understand if the adapter had used modern English. I think with a mix of modern language and the art depiction the play can be very easy to understand. But by using the original text you're still not making it any easier to understand. I had to use a Spark Notes No Fear Shakespeare version of the play while reading the graphic novel so I could understand what was being said.


Though I don't like the word adaptation I really love the art. The artist depicts the characters as looking elvish; though the prince of Arragon looks more like a mer person and the prince of Morocco reminds me of a snake.

There is a distinct difference between the depictions of the Christians and the Jews. The Christians have light countenances and clothing, while the Jews are dark haired and wear dark clothing.

Faye Yong's are is just really beautiful and pleasing to look at.

My Final Thoughts:

Though I didn't like the adaptation and comprehension was as difficult for me as any Shakespeare play or poem, the art made up for it. I really enjoyed looking at Faye Yong's depictions of the characters. Her art is really beautiful.

Website | Goodreads

A former pianist left Malaysia to pursue an Illustration degree in the UK. Faye has a weakness for shoujo manga and anything with a happy ending and is on a lifelong quest to improve her artistic & storytelling skills. Her main influences and inspirations include Japanese manga, fashion & fabulous looking people. She works primarily with Photoshop, Manga Studio, Illustrator and her Intuos tablet.

Faye placed third in the hotly contested Rising Stars of Manga UK and; Ireland 3 in 2008 and; won the People's Choice Award in the same year.

Disclaimer: This review was originally posted in 2011 to my book review blog, Zodiac Book Reviews.


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