Wednesday, November 16, 2011

GNA Review: Manga Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice

Title: The Merchant of Venice
Series: Manga Shakespeare
Author: William Shakespeare
Adapter: Richard Appignanesi
Artist: Faye Yong
Genre: Young Adult Graphic Novel Adaptations
Publisher: Amulet Books, ABRAMS Books
ISBN-13: 9780810997172
ISBN: 0810997177
Release: March 1, 2011
Rating: 3/5

Tagline(s): All that glisters is not gold.


In one of the Bard's most enduring plays, Bassanio seeks the hand of the heiress Portia, but needs money to make a good impression. He and his friend Antonio borrow from the sinister banker Shylock, whose famous terms require a pound of flesh in forfeit if the money isn't paid back. Featuring one of literature's most famous courtroom scenes, and full of high-stakes drama, this manga interpretation is sure to grip readers and not let go.



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.

About this Author:

William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.

Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. Next he wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest examples in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights. Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime, and in 1623, two of his former theatrical colleagues published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's.

Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. The Romantics, in particular, acclaimed Shakespeare's genius, and the Victorians hero-worshipped Shakespeare with a reverence that George Bernard Shaw called "bardolatry". In the twentieth century, his work was repeatedly adopted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular today and are consistently performed and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world.

About this Artist:

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.

Bassanio and Antonio
Portia and Nerissa

Shylock and Jessica


  1. yeah i read the original of these a shakespear fan,and also addicted to yes walker high top sneakers.

  2. I love reading books especially business books but my friend let me borrow this book and i am starting to enjoy it.
    Greg Mclardie