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Thursday, October 2, 2008

What I’m Reading Now: Prose Before Hos!

Every once in a while, which I’m sure you have experienced, you feel the need to put down a comic book and pick up another form of literature. Sometimes it’s a novel or short story or even poetry if you so choose. This week, I turned from Punisher to playwright, from now to 16th century England, from Spiderman to Hamlet. Though it’s said that Bob Kane, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, or Stan Lee started it all but what if we backtrack it even further? I am speaking of the great playwright, William Shakespeare. Yes, I can see many of your cringing now thinking back to your high school literature class. And for years I would also shutter at the name. I could not get around the different language that he would use. I couldn’t understand the dialogue or the action, but last week I decided that I would give William one last chance, so I picked up Hamlet. This story, which most people know, is a classic and for good reason. It may seem weird to talk about Shakespeare on a comic website but is it so different from comics today? The themes that Shakespeare touches on are universal and are reflected heavily throughout literature, even comics. Take Hamlet, he’s mad, bad people are getting away with evil deeds and he feels it is his duty to take law into his own hands…hmmm… who does that remind me of… Frank Castle, Punisher… I say yea! The classic and epic Romeo and Juliet story a love that is not meant to be and cast down upon others…. Strangers in Paradise… I think so! Any of Shakespeare’s tragedies touch the heart and make you feel awful for the characters involved. This also relates to comics. My associate, Capt. Cletus states, “have you ever read a David Lapham book?” Another valid point! At first glace it seems that this is a joke but I truly believe that its important to see how old and great these themes we see in comics really are and how they relate to great writers of the past. Next week it’s back to the comics but for today, let’s give notice to past writers and playwrights which provide context for the great stories we have today.

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