Thursday, March 19, 2015

No Fear Shakespeare: Graphic Novels: Romeo & Juliet

Getting ready to teach Shakespeare? Then I’m sure you’ve heard of No Fear Shakespeare, but have you seen the comic book?  The graphic novel version of No Fear Romeo & Juliet manages to keep many of the jokes and double entendres found in the original play.  Unlike the full-text versions of the No Fear series, the manga adaptation does not contain both the original text and a plain English translation.  Instead, it only has the latter which is suitable for high school students. The graphic novel really excels where it should-- the illustrations.  The black and white panels support the text as they depict characters’ emotions as easy to read; shading helps separate night and day, as well as give characters depth and help the reader understand the mood/tone of each scene. Not every graphic novel reader will gravitate to this adaptation on their own. Students who have read and enjoyed Persepolis and Maus will certainly feel right at home due to the similar art styles, and the demand of students’ background knowledge about the time period. Teachers may want to consider using this adaptation as a scaffolding tool when teaching Romeo and Juliet. I highly recommend pairing this version with both more complex and simpler versions of the play to enrich a reading.--Claudio Leon

Shakespeare, William. No Fear Shakespeare: Graphic Novels: Romeo & Juliet. New York: Spark Publishing, 2008. Print.

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