A well-designed and engaging adaptation.

READ REVIEW

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

THE GRAPHIC NOVEL

The classic gothic romance gets its latest graphic novel treatment.

This faithful adaption begins as Gaston Leroux’s novel does. Young ballet dancers fret and gossip about seeing the fabled Opera Ghost. A stagehand is subsequently found hanging dead in the third-floor cellar. Above the tragedy, prima donna Christine Daaé brings the opera hall to a standing ovation as she debuts in the role of Margarita. Later, the Ghost appears in the flesh to threaten the opera’s new management if they don’t keep his box seat open and let Christine sing again. The managers ignore him. The Ghost’s obsession with Christine only grows, and he seeks to possess her as his bride. Her childhood friend and love interest, Raoul, tries to intervene. More Stephen Gammell than Andrew Lloyd Webber, Hungarian artist Tomi casts an eerie light on the horror in this ghostly romance. The Ghost’s glowing red eyes, a few times hidden in small background details, pierce through the fourth wall to gaze at the reader. The panels switch from rectangular to jagged and jarring, incorporating different color schemes and styles to distinguish memories (rendered in a bright, soft glow) from horrific sequences (rendered in chilling sepia tones). The cast, with the exception of “the Persian,” presents White. The “Backstage Access” section shows original sketches and gallery art.

A well-designed and engaging adaptation. (Graphic adaptation. 13-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-949518-09-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: A Wave Blue World

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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A solid introduction for budding lovers of the Bard.

HAMLET

From the Campfire Graphic Novels series

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

The timeless tale of the young and disaffected Danish prince who is pushed to avenge his father’s untimely murder at the hands of his brother unfolds with straightforward briskness. Shakespeare’s text has been liberally but judiciously cut, staying true to the thematic meaning while dispensing with longer speeches (with the notable exception of the renowned “to be or not to be” soliloquy) and intermediary dialogues. Some of the more obscure language has been modernized, with a glossary of terms provided at the end; despite these efforts, readers wholly unfamiliar with the story might struggle with independent interpretation. Where this adaptation mainly excels is in its art, especially as the play builds to its tensely wrought final act. Illustrator Kumar (World War Two, 2015, etc.) pairs richly detailed interiors and exteriors with painstakingly rendered characters, each easily distinguished from their fellows through costume, hairstyle, and bearing. Human figures are generally depicted in bust or three-quarter shots, making the larger panels of full figures all the more striking. Heavily scored lines of ink form shadows, lending the otherwise bright pages a gritty air. All characters are white.

A solid introduction for budding lovers of the Bard. (biography of Shakespeare, dramatis personae, glossary) (Graphic novel. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-93-81182-51-2

Page Count: 90

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Using modern language, McDonald spins the well-known tale of the two young, unrequited lovers. Set against Nagar’s at-times...

ROMEO AND JULIET

From the Campfire Classics series

A bland, uninspired graphic adaptation of the Bard’s renowned love story.

Using modern language, McDonald spins the well-known tale of the two young, unrequited lovers. Set against Nagar’s at-times oddly psychedelic-tinged backgrounds of cool blues and purples, the mood is strange, and the overall ambiance of the story markedly absent. Appealing to what could only be a high-interest/low–reading level audience, McDonald falls short of the mark. He explains a scene in an open-air tavern with a footnote—“a place where people gather to drink”—but he declines to offer definitions for more difficult words, such as “dirges.” While the adaptation does follow the foundation of the play, the contemporary language offers nothing; cringeworthy lines include Benvolio saying to Romeo at the party where he first meets Juliet, “Let’s go. It’s best to leave now, while the party’s in full swing.” Nagar’s faces swirl between dishwater and grotesque, adding another layer of lost passion in a story that should boil with romantic intensity. Each page number is enclosed in a little red heart; while the object of this little nuance is obvious, it’s also unpleasantly saccharine. Notes after the story include such edifying tidbits about Taylor Swift and “ ‘Wow’ dialogs from the play” (which culls out the famous quotes).

Pub Date: May 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-93-80028-58-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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