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King Lear
Gareth Hinds
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King Lear (Graphic Classics)

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  2,117 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
A taut adaptation of Shakespeare’s masterwork by Gareth Hinds — the standard-bearer of graphic-novel retellings of literary classics.

In a graceful adaptation, Gareth Hinds transforms Shakespeare’s timeless tale of pride and defiance, loyalty and ambition, betrayal and revenge into graphic-novel format, packing it with visual drama and providing accessible notes. This artfu

Library Binding, 128 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by Baker & Taylor, CATS (first published September 21st 2007)
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(showing 1-30)
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Really not very good. I like the negative and sketchy effects he used to depict the Lear's madness, but the art was overall confusing. If you need to put a dotted line on the page so that readers will know which panels to read when, you need to rethink your layouts. Going in, I knew very little about King Lear, and I don't feel like this take enlightened me at all, especially since it's rather heavily abridged.
May 30, 2011 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the most successful adaptation of Shakespeare to the graphic medium that I have read. Wisely, Hinds keeps large parts of the original dialog so the poetry and the passion of the play are undiluted. In supplementary notes at the end of the text he explains his choices.

To the text he has added superlative composition. Dialog is presented in a script typeface of his own design that’s clear to read and complementary to the composition. For most of the work he either adapts or abandons the t
Aug 13, 2016 Lydia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
King Lear has reached old age, and with this acquisition, has decided to divide his kingdom amongst his daughters. The eldest two daughters earn their portions by flattering tongues, but the youngest refuses to speak so basely, instead trusting her actions to show her love; her portion of the kingdom is divided between her sisters as a result, and she accepts a foreign suitor and leaves the kingdom. This tale is the result of trust so misplaced.

This graphic novel is very well done, I particular

Ashley Brocious
This was a graphic novel of Shakespeare's play King Lear that used the real language of the play in comic-book fashion. In theory, it's a really cool idea. It seems like it would be a fun way to pull reluctant readers of Shakespeare (myself included in that category) into a world that is alive and fun. However, I think I had less interest in that play after trying to sift through that book than before starting it. I was so confused by which character was who, who was talking to who, where it was ...more
Lars Guthrie
Oct 23, 2010 Lars Guthrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only knew Hinds from his 'Beowulf,' rendered with much bolder line than 'King Lear,' so was a liitle put off at first by his more delicate hand here, and especially by the dialogue balloons, with text in frilly, curlicueish cursive. Shakespeare's language already requires decoding effort, I grumbled.

But once acclimatized, it all made sense. Hinds alternates comic book panels with other graphic organization, often using dotted lines and arrows to follow characters as they move within a scene. I
Nov 22, 2012 Patrice rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-420
Category: graphic novel

This book is based on Shakespeare's play, King Lear. The story is about a king who is dividing up his kingdom among his three daughters. His two oldest daughters flatter him and are given large portions; the youngest daughter, who is the only one who actually loves him, refuses to flatter her father and is disowned. Then the two older sisters get all tyrannical and treat their father horribly, and he ends up going mad. The two older sisters also fight over which one of the
King Lear has always been one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, and this graphic novel adaptation is unique. Rather than adapting the story to 9-panel pages, Gareth Hinds gives it to us the way we might see it on stage, only with visible dialogue. Stage directions are shown in action and sometimes dotted lines that show you which direction to read; lighting and color are also used to great effect. I think this could be very useful to readers who have trouble visualizing what the heck is going on ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

Shakespeare is, of course, the backbone of many literary studies. But is there a way to add something fresh and new to the works of the ancient bard? Gareth Hinds has created the graphic novel interpretation of one of Shakespeare's greatest plays, KING LEAR.

Although the presentation may be unique, the story holds true. The great king is dividing his realm. Three daughters will receive three portions, but each must prove herself wort
Nov 07, 2012 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare
This version of the play is illustrated like a graphic novel and it really helped me understand the complicated plot of the tragedy King Lear. Without this book I never would have understood how King Lear and his daughter Cordelia interacted at the end nor how Gloucester's son protected his father after being disowned. The physical setting was much clearer in the graphic novel and it was vitally important to understand what was going on. The author used much of Shakespeare's original language an ...more
Sarah Beaudoin
Mar 14, 2009 Sarah Beaudoin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
I appreciate the concept behind this. I don't know if there is another playwright whose work can be sensibly translated into as many formats as Shakespeare and a graphical format seems a reasonable approach, especially with the possibility that this may make Shakespeare accessible to those who may eschew reading a traditional play. In reality though, I found this version of King Lear distracting, disappointing, and messy. The graphics were cartoonish, the dialogue broken up in a way as to destro ...more
Feb 15, 2010 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphicnovel
The flap copy called this an accessible introduction to King Lear, but I found it very confusing. The story seemed familiar (maybe I read it in high school), but I thought Hinds' Merchant of Venice was much more accessible. In Merchant of Venice, the language begins in a modern dialect and changes subtly to classic Shakespearean. In King Lear, the reader is immediately plunged into Shakespeare's own words. The illustrations did help a lot, as did the cast of characters with pictures at the begin ...more
ஐ Briansgirl (Book Sale Queen)ஐ
Apr 06, 2009 ஐ Briansgirl (Book Sale Queen)ஐ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: first attempt at Shakespeare
This was my first Shakespeare. The story is tragic as are most Shakespeare stories. It's also my first graphic novel. (As a child, we called these comic books). I have trouble reading shakespeare because you aren't reading a novel, but a play. The symatics of "character A walks to spot X and says..." is so confusing, I lose the plot. I didn't have that problem with the graphic novel, and there are even lil dashed lines that swirl around the page telling you in which direction to read the speech ...more
Feb 21, 2013 Angela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic
While the artwork was stunning and I enjoyed the way that the text was written (in cursive and following a dotted, twisted line along the page). This is not a good introduction to King Lear or Shakespeare.

Myself (a self proclaimed Shakespeare nerd) enjoyed that the feel of the original play was preserved, in iambic pentameter but if this is your first introduction to King Lear you will be confused.
Fives OnTheFly
Apr 10, 2013 Fives OnTheFly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When we first checked out this version of King Lear we weren't sure how much the kids would enjoy it, or if we would even get through the first Act. However, this ended up being a big hit with the entire family. Five String did a great job giving voice to Shakespeare's characters and the illustrations and editing by Gareth Hinds made this play accessible to our family. Everyone loved The Fool and we all came away shaking our heads at how blind King Lear truly was.
Excellent graphic novel. I have put it on the "not recommended for students" shelf specifically because it is not "easier" than Shakespeare's text. Hinds' artwork is luminous and had me tearing up when Lear enters howling, but I think it isn't quite supportive enough for a student who is struggling to make sense of Shakespeare's words. For those students, I have other recommendations. Now, if you already know the story of King Lear, I would happily recommend Hinds' book for you.
Rae Borman
I need to stop reading Shakespeare's tragedies before trying to go to bed. They are so upsetting. Why does Hinds do such a good job with his graphic novel adaptations?!?

I found this work was a bit harder to visually follow than Macbeth even with the dotted arrow lines. There were a few times when I had to trace the line with my finger and then figure out which text bubble was associated with that next spot. Frustrating? Yes. Worth it? Also yes.
I can give this 3 stars because there is nothing to complain about in regards to the story. It's King Lear, the most emotionally devastating Shakespeare play, and possible one of the most devastating stories ever.

That said, I don't see why the illustrations in this story were so cheerful. Like, the illustrations of a children's book, not a YA retelling. I would see a lot of dark earthy colors, or a blood red kind of palette. They weren't bad. They just didn't fit.
Nicky J
Nov 27, 2016 Nicky J rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only reason this isn't 5 stars for me is the graphic novel dialog was very scattered/over-logged. The Macbeth version by the same author was very well done and clear, by this version's page layout took away from my reading of it. That being said, I loved the art and King Lear is one of my favourites by Shakespeare.
Taking a play by Shakespeare and condensing it into a graphic novel is hard work. Gareth Hinds doesn't do a bad job. In fact, there are moments when he is down right brilliant (i.e Lear in the storm, Cordelia's death). However, some of the basic conventions (cursive text, dotted lines to represent on stage movement) were more distracting than helpful.

Jul 03, 2016 Jasmine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was super pretty and stuck to the original King Lear as far as I can remember. But it was hard to follow which character was who. The soldiers looked like Edmund a lot of the time which was super confusing. It also would have been nice to know about the explanation page before reading the book so I could have referenced it. But again the illustrations were amazing.
Feb 26, 2014 Kath rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The font doesn't match the artistic rendering at all. Huge turn off. Lear is a difficult play, and I think the visual does help you jump in right away. However, the daughters are still so unbelievably devoid of human emotion. I wish Hinds could have given us more. Let's just blame it on the Bard instead.
The art is great. The order in which to read the dialogue was a bit confusing, added to my inability to process the language made it a little hard to read at a quick pace. I skipped to the end and spoiled it for myself. I may try to read it in its entirety another time.
Well, I had a hunch Lear was going to be a bit gruesome. I'd never read or watched the play. But it was even more gruesome than I expected! Quite a creative and well illustrated graphic novel production.
George Chao
A comic with arrows to guild you to read is a big NO-NO to me. The drawings make the Shakespeare even harder to read! I prefer just read the play. As a comic book artist myself, I appreciate the effort to draw Shakespeare.
Pretty good stuff. I'd never read King Lear before, and this was helpful for making sense of exactly what was going on.

I didn't love the artwork, but again, the graphic novel format allowed me to follow the action a little better.

3 1/2 stars
Nov 13, 2012 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wicked! Great to see this work through the spastic eyes of Gareth Hinds.
He creates "theatre production" style visuals that fills in the minds eyes without being too descriptive or distracting from the actual text.
It truly was like sitting in a theatre watching a production of King Lear.
Cindy Itzel Quinn
Apr 11, 2016 Cindy Itzel Quinn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
MUCH BETTER than his Beowulf adaptation. The art was better, the depiction of scenes was good, BUT I couldn't tell who was saying what and in what order (in the beginning). I did like this one a lot.
Apr 17, 2012 Ashley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel
Parenting lessons from Will Shakespeare: Do not pit thee your children against eachother whilst fishing for compliments, lest everyone shalt die. Zzzz.
Mike Jensen
Jul 23, 2010 Mike Jensen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I may assign this students someday, so no comment here. The single star in enough.
Mar 09, 2015 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent retelling of a familiar story with sometimes startling artwork that brings Lear's tragic story to life.
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Gareth Hinds is the creator of several acclaimed graphic novels based on classics. About THE ODYSSEY, he says, "It was incredibly exciting to work with this material. Gods, monsters, flawed heroes, battles, and all the best and worst of human nature, set against an ancient Mediterranean backdrop. It’s a dream project."

Gareth Hinds lives in Watertown, Massachusetts.
More about Gareth Hinds...

Other Books in the Series

Graphic Classics (9 books)
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