Shakespeare Comic Books
The Shakespeare Comic Book Series was created in response to a simple question: How can we present serious literature to a generation of school students that is intensely visually aware but often reluctant to read?
The answer was to offer the work of the world’s greatest ever writer in a popular format with a highly pictorial content. The Shakespeare Comic Book Series thus began life in 1999, created by Simon Greaves.
Simon lives and works in a tiny village on the Shropshire border with North Wales. Having studied Literature at York University, with a previous art school background, two years working for a book design firm, several more as a teacher and a few as a writer, Simon brought this miscellaneous experience together to create The Shakespeare Comic Book Series.
Since the series was launched, the comic books have been successfully shown at exhibitions in London and the NEC, Birmingham, been bought by thousands of schools and private individuals and have been on sale at the Shakespeare Bookshop, Stratford since 2003 and The Royal Shakespeare Company since 2004.
Yet none of this would have been possible without the very latest technology. The Shropshire/North Wales border is not renowned for its publishing houses, or the Ceiriog Valley for many houses of any kind.
From a village without a pub, church, garage or post office, internet contact has been made with academics all over the world. The books have sold online to North America, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean, been reviewed by scholars in the US and Holland and found their way into The Michael P. Jensen Collection for Shakespeare in Mass Media and Popular Culture, housed at the Southern Oregon University, USA.
The comic books are now on sale at the Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, California and a seven page extract from A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been reprinted by US publisher Holt, Rhinehart and Winston in Elements of Literature (pub 2008).
This whole enterprise is of course driven by a love of Shakespeare and a desire to introduce his work to new generations. The passion behind the Shakespeare Comic Book Series was correctly identified in a long and insightful review of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Folio, the journal of The Shakespeare Society of the Low Countries (Netherlands and Flanders).