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Prince of Cats

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  646 ratings  ·  143 reviews
A hip-hop retelling of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet that focuses on Tybalt (derisively referred to as "the Prince of Cats") and his Capulet crew as they do battle nightly with the hated Montagues. Set in a Blade Runner-esque version of Brooklyn, PRINCE OF CATS is a mix of urban melodrama, samurai action and classic Shakespearean theater...all written in Iambic ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Vertigo (first published September 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  646 ratings  ·  143 reviews


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Stacy
Nov 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Prince of Cats has to be the most unusual book I have ever read, but that is not bad... it is just different. Ron Wimberly has combined the story of Romeo and Juliet, with '80's gangs/samuri warriors and it is written in iambic pentameter but with lots of '80's lingo. I have given him 4 stars for his visionary concept and great artwork, but not 5 since, at times, it is easy to get lost and try to keep characters straight. I applaud Mr. Wimberly's efforts and creativity, and his ability to think ...more
Hannah Garden
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh. My. Fuckn. God. This fuckn goddamn hell ass magnificent fantastic book. This book is a puzzlepoem of firework light rock candy, that itchy urgey lipbiting thing Wertz once described as "this book is so good I wanna crawl inside it and fuck it." Perfect.
Sara
Jan 01, 2017 rated it liked it
This is one of those rare times where I wish I had actually read about this book before plunging in to it. I thought it was going to be a pretty straightforward adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, where the plot would largely match up. But it wasn't that, so I felt thrown off during the entire book. It is NOT a straightforward adaptation of R&J - instead it looks at the plot sideways, focusing on Tybalt, the Prince of Cats, with rarely any depiction of Romeo or Juliet or their relationship. I ...more
Skye Kilaen
A hip-hop ninja Romeo and Juliet remix focused on Tybalt, who's involved in an underground sword dueling club in the equivalent of 1980s New York. You've probably never read anything like this, and it has all the excitement of the classic story that inspired it. Bold coloring, full of action and intrigue, heading towards an inevitably tragic ending. Reading Wimberly's afterword gave me even more appreciation for how good of a writer he is, and I was intrigued by the connections he drew between ...more
Lissibith
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, comic-trades
Pretty much everyone knows Romeo and Juliet. But what if the story were to change eras? And settings? And move what part of the story we were seeing?

The lives of the youth in Verona are cheap, and a combat ranking is one of the best and easiest ways for them to make their mark. But how can people who live so quickly and so loosely really connect with one another?

I found this to be a really entertaining read, and very funny, though if you find Shakespeare's original language impenetrable you
...more
Rachel Nabors
Nov 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, comics
I reserve five star ratings for "things I would go out of my way to experience again if I got to live my life over." This is one of those things.

Ron Wimberly is... a genius. Do you remember "Romeo and Juliet" back in the 90s, how trippy and delightful that film was? This is in the same vein, only set in the much more urban environment of Brooklyn. The character designs are rich, the colors, tyopgraphy and design treatments will delight and amaze you.

I walked away from this with a better
...more
Alex Flores
Feb 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. You don't need a working knowledge of Romeo and Juliet to appreciate Prince of Cats, but without it, you'll miss some of the genius of this adaptation. Wimberly really gets it. He gets the impetuousness, the blood-lustiness, and the rampant, fairly obscene sexuality of the Veronese youths in the original story, and he reinterprets it with aplomb.

I think it helps that graphic novels, like plays, are told in dialogue. Wimberly's use of hip-hop register and command of Shakespeare's
...more
Chad
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recipe for Prince of Cats

1. Take Romeo and Juliet.
2. Set it in 1980's Brooklyn.
3. Turn the Capulet's and Montague's into rival street gangs who regularly sword fight.
4. Pretty much forget about Romeo and Juliet and focus on Tybalt instead.
5. Keep stilted Shakespearean dialogue.

I wanted to like this more than I did. The stilted dialogue took me right out of it though. It would just shut my brain off to the point I was reading it over and over to decipher what they were actually saying.
Ed Erwin
Oct 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
It was a great idea to mix and match the minor characters from Romeo and Juliet with urban gang warfare. (Romeo and Juliet are minor characters here, and the story ends soon after they meet.) It makes total sense, especially after reading the authors end-note about how the idea came to him. Both groups were basically teenagers with nothing to look forward to who weren't afraid to fight and die for their team.

However, the dialog was really tough for me. Parts of it are directly from Shakespeare,
...more
Devann
This was absolutely gorgeous! I wish I had taken some time to pick out some panels to post but I was 1. too into it to break my concentration and 2. kind of struggling to understand it at points. I know those two things seems contradictory but hear me out.

This is a Shakespeare adaptation that is set in the [slightly altered] modern day BUT it's still mostly written in iambic pentameter. This is really fascinating because the author also uses a lot of modern words and phrases and busts out some
...more
Stewart Tame
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, for Pete's sake! Why does Goodreads have seperate listings for the hardcover, paperback, and Kindle editions? So I read the hardcover, but somehow my review got appended to the paperback instead. And it's counting that as a seperate rating too. Whatever.
Darcy Roar
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphics
Woooooaaaaahhhhh! This was super amazing and made my head hurt a bit (been a long time since I had to read Shakespeare style). The art styles jump around a bit which was confusing at points, but still amazing. The dialogue, oh man the dialogue is sublime. A perfect mix of Shakespeare words, Shakespeare's style,and modern slang. At one point Juliet tells the wonder woman/batman/invisible man joke in Shakespearean and it's perfect. I want more of this and more of everything Ron Wimberly has worked ...more
Julia
Mar 04, 2017 added it
Shelves: comics
Strange and jittery and gorgeous.
Kaleb
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An excellent retelling of Romeo and Juliet with a dash of hip-hop and samurai action! Highly recommended. RTC
Amy!
This was a little tough to get through because the Shakespeare-esque language is so dense (some of the dialogue is directly from Romeo & Juliet and all of it feels like it could be), and I feel like I probably definitely missed some things because of it. Overall, though, this was an excellent graphic novel. I read the recently released Image oversized hardcover, and the larger format was great for really seeing the details of the characters and the action; this probably would have been TOUGH ...more
Alex Sarll
Romeo and Juliet remixed in eighties New York, with Tybalt (who, after all, is one of the two who tend to steal the show) given centre stage. The Shakespeare-pastiche dialogue doesn't always come off, but then that's true of everyone who's ever attempted it; Hell, even Bill himself would occasionally come a cropper. And there are some fabulous bits, from the very simple ("The fuck is thy problem?") to one intricately filthy conversation of which I think the Swan of Avon would be proud. And the ...more
Scott Foley
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Set in Brooklyn, Prince of Cats lauds itself as The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet’s B-Side. Though it uses Shakespeare’s classic work as the inspiration, Prince of Cats is its own entity, a graphic novel unlike any other, an adaptation, a reimagining, a twist on a story that was already a twist itself.

And though there have been many iterations of the source material, I’ve never experienced anything quite like Prince of Cats. Sure, the idea of the Montagues being white and the Capulets black isn’t
...more
Ellen
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I took a class once on adaptations of Shakespeare; the way the source material is foisted on dead-eyed high schoolers and the way creators can change the focus, change the details, and make something accessible and interesting and new. (After all, even Shakespeare was adapting stories.)

and Prince of Cats is really cool.

It's set in like, a slick alternate 80s NYC, where kids with samurai swords duel for status, with that burning zeal for life that looks more like a deathwish. The color-use is
...more
Elizabeth
Sep 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
So...take the obnoxious Leonardo DiCaprio version of Romeo and Juliet. Move it to Brooklyn. Make the Montagues and Capulets rival street gangs who fight with swords in the present day. Make all the characters black and focus it on Tybalt, who goes to private school. Make it a graphic novel where the words and sound effects produce perfect iambic pentameter in speech bubbles. In short, take that unforgivable DiCaprio nonsense and make it awesome.

3.5, really, but I'm grading up because it takes
...more
Nicole
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such an awesome retelling of Romeo and Juliet from Tybalt's POV. It's told in verse (iambic pentameter) and is just an amazing twist on the Shakespeare tale. It combines hip hop, samurai, issues of race, etc. all set in 1980s Brooklyn. I do wish I'd brushed up on my R&J a bit more before diving in as I feel like I could have gleaned even more from it. Definitely not for kids, but if you love Shakespeare and graphic novels, this is a must-read.
Jen
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was very cool. I read the large, hardback version and that was a great way to really get the artwork. There are a few areas that get a little muddled or confusing, and there is a lot of violence. But this is great.
Ash
Apr 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a tepid three starred review.

Ronald Wimberly's Prince of Cats is part 1996's Romeo and Juliet, part Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing, and part samurai movie. The twist? It has the ill-fated Tybalt Capulet, the Prince of Cats, as its lead. The reason for the moniker is because he's had a lot of near-misses with death. However, nine lives are running out when he has to duel with Romeo because Tybalt killed Mercutio.

Prince of Cats had the misfortune of depicting the one Shakespeare play I
...more
Akemi G.
So Spike Lee is filming this graphic novel. It's Romeo and Juliet, yet it's not just that--it's a strange mix of 80s subculture and Japanese samurai sword fighting, told in Shakespearean voice. Very smart. (Although too much violence for me.)
Michelle
May 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This take on Romeo and Juliet focuses on Tybalt, the Prince of Cats. Some of the dialogue is taken straight from the original play, while other parts play with Shakespearean language and contemporary street slang. The result is an entertaining and sometimes jarring juxtaposition of tone and register. It renders the feeling of formal language while also being somewhat familiar to the reader. Some of the original writing is laugh-out-loud hilarious because of this.

The art itself was fantastic and
...more
Maia
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a masterpiece. Wimberly has woven together Shakespeare, hip-hop and Kurosawa with effortless ease into a new and stunning story. Rival gangs, the Montagues and Capulets, battle over their pride in the streets of 1980's New York, wielding samurai swords and deadly wits. Rosalyn snaps photos of the top duelists for a zine which reports the latest victories and defeats. Mercutio sprays graffiti murals under contested overpasses. Juliet smokes in the bathroom at her all-girls high ...more
Melissa
Ronald Wimberly's blend of Shakespearean language and '80s New York City hip hop is constantly impressive. I had a little trouble understanding the dialogue sometimes, which comes with the territory (the Shakespeare part), and some of the action scenes were a little hard to follow. The ending also felt abrupt. But the story is generally extremely well done and engaging. If not for the nudity and brief sexual conversation/innuendo, I would recommend Prince of Cats, which focuses on Juliet's ...more
Alexander P.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" for anyone who knows what follows "It was all a dream..." Wimberly's dominance of the language melds perfectly with his art, every panel of which could be a Wu-Tang Clan cover or promo art. Best of all it's not your usual Romeo and Juliet adaptation. Those expecting an updated version of "West Side Story" or the Baz Luhrmann "Romeo + Juliet" would probably do well to leave their understanding of the play on the floor. This is not a love story, ...more
Waffles Magee
Oct 14, 2016 rated it liked it
I thought the iambic prose was good and fit well with the created world. You can tell the author worked hard to come up with fitting and engaging text. The visuals in this graphic novel were good too. However, I had a lot of trouble following the action a lot of the time. Characters weren't always introduced properly and there would often be flashbacks with no indication that it was a flashback, which was very confusing. Overall I thought it was interesting, but suffered from the familiar story ...more
Neil Grayson
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Un fucking real. Takes the mashup/remix tradition to completely new places. This feels like a hip-hop album, a Shakespeare play, a gritty Manga, and a slick gangster film all in one. Beautiful use of color and anachronistic imagery (I'm thinking specifically of everyone's katana.) Actually, the most impressive bit is probably the dialogue. A seamless alloy of contemporary poetics with Shakespeare-reminiscent rhythm and verbiage. Somehow also manages to be a love letter to the 1990s.
Jamil
the b-side, the remix,
shrapnel
casualties of young romance
the kickback in a young man's stride...
chambara, neon streets,
vetted by purple rain
,
samo, samo...

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