I have been complaining most of my #woke life for something that is not just two white kids falling in love or whatever. This adaptation has given me everything I wanted. I liked that Gareth Hinds included a multi-racial set of characters. Hinds put together two social groups that we normally do not see together. Main stream media does not produce or show anything mixing South Asians and African Americans (or African-Veronians in this case).
Hinds kept the setting in Verona, like Shakespeare originally wrote, but incorporated cultural traditions and clothing from his Romeo and Juliet’s backgrounds. Juliet’s mother wears traditional South Asian clothing and a bindi on her forehead. I think it’s cool that Hinds also kept the original text, or most of it at least, and made the words come out of the mouths of people of color. The style choice for the art is not my favorite but I am not the one who wrote the book so godspeed. The illustrations made the text far easier to understand. Since Hinds kept most of the original text, it’s kind of hard to understand Shakespearean English without movement or body language.
Also, about the stylized manga, I did not fully get why all the guys were so buff. Like, listen guy, I know you workout and bite your thumb 9 to 5 every day instead of actually working but doesn’t it get chilly? The art also kind of reminded me of Kill Bill vol. 1 (I believe) when O-Ren Ishii witnessed her parents being murdered. The style changed depending on the scene, which I really found appealing because it added to the mood. Like in the beginning when that guy was biting his thumb and, spoiler if you’ve never read Romeo and Juliet, fought against some Capulets–the style seemed very masculine and jagged. Mercutio’s head made giggle too. His head was just so shiny.
Anyway, yeah. This graphic novel was fun to read. I loved the way Hinds adapted Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and incorporated non-white cultures, making the leads people of color. The illustrations made Shakespeare so much easier to read and fully understand. Hinds let his readers see the facial expressions and body language that most modern day readers of Shakespeare couldn’t appreciate.
If you’re a fan of Romeo and Juliet I recommend this book! (391)