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Prince of Cats

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  851 ratings  ·  177 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 Pe ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Vertigo (first published September 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  851 ratings  ·  177 reviews

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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. ...more
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 would ...more
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.
Jun 07, 2020 marked it as to-read
the way i’ma slut for romeo and juliet retellings
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 K ...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 understa
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Utterly dumbfounded by this magnificent spectacular staggeringly brilliant stupidly beautiful book, oh my fuckin god.

Here's our spread from book club, including rosemary butter cookies, olive oil cake, handmade pretzels, and this preposterously decadent chocolate chip cookie dough dip I made my very own self (here's the recipe if you want it).

Screen Shot 2020-01-01 at 5.35.44 PM
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 won'
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 lang
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,
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
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. ...more
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
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
Mar 04, 2017 added it
Shelves: comics
Strange and jittery and gorgeous.
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 to ...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 a ...more
Stephanie (aka WW)
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Such lush, cool graphics. I felt hip just reading this. This is B-side Romeo and Juliette. The story of Tybalt (the Prince of Cats) and the turf war between Montague and Capulet gangs set in the 1980’s. There’s (lots of) sword fighting on subways and cool dialogue in iambic pentameter. I wish I could say that I followed everything in these 140 pages of graphic awesomeness, but I didn’t. Guess I’m not that hip after all.
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
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 vib
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 s
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. ...more
Jon Nakapalau
May 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Not sure how, but this really worked for me! Ron Wimberly has done a fantastic job of 'fusing' two very different concepts (hip-hop and Shakespeare) - but has found commonality in the confusion of youth and the power it influences over love and honor. ...more
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.
Keith Irwin
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So, first off, this book is amazing. I put it down only with great difficulty, although I also needed peace and quiet to be able to dive in because neither the dialogue nor the plot is straight-forward. The book summary I see above mentions Bladerunner as being an ingredient of the setting, and that's a bizarre thing to say. The setting is not Bladerunner in the slightest. It's two parts Wildstyle, one part Shakespeare's Verona with a few shakes of Kurosawa mixed in for good measure

The plot is,
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 ca
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gn, library, nwa, print, retelling
Went in expecting something like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and wasn't disappointed. It's formatted much the same way. Prince of Cats was so clever that I had trouble following it at times. Updated to be about rival street gangs and also maybe rap battles and somehow also samurai (if the samurai were in it just for the aesthetic and had no concept of Bushido)? But also written in iambic pentameter, with words I had to stop and look up not infrequently. I loved the entire concept. It' ...more
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Romeo and Juliet in comic book form, focused on Tybalt, and set in a cyberpunk hood.

Wimberly used Shakespeare's play, cribbed from other poets (I caught some Blake), and reworked original dialogue to fit into the setting. It was super cool, especially if you're already familiar with R&J.

I'm very glad I read this!
Alan Waltrip
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I always enjoy a Shakespeare re-interpretation. The art in this is pretty wild but as an overall experience I very much enjoyed it.
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