Sample pages (pdf)
Study Guide (pdf)

Candlewick Press edition now available.

King Lear uses a range of styles and materials, but the majority of the work was done with technical pen and watercolor.

Large portions of this book were drawn while riding the subway!

Named one of the 10 best graphic novels of 2008 for youth by Booklist!

When an old king tries to divide his kingdom among his three daughters, he unleashes a power struggle that will tear his family and the kingdom apart.

With a raging storm as a backdrop, Shakespeare explores themes of truth, loyalty, anger, madness, ambition, justice, and rebellion in this, one of his greatest tragedies.

My adaptation features loose, flowing page layouts, often without panel borders, and the setting is a melange of historical periods and styles. The text is based on the 1608 Quarto, and is condensed to about half the original material.

Like Beowulf, this book was first self-published and later re-issued by Candlewick Press. The self-published edition is now officially out of print. The only differences between the Candlewick and self-published editions are the cover designs, the weight of the paper (Candlewick's is slightly heavier), and the typeface (mine is cursive script, theirs is a more "normal" font), plus a few very minor copyedits of the text.

Candlewick sample spread
Self-published sample spread

Amazon also has extensive samples of the Candlewick edition, including front matter and footnotes. Other places to buy it online.

Why King Lear? Lear is generally considered to be one of Shakespeare's greatest masterpieces. However, it tends not to be performed as often as some of his other great tragedies such as Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet, perhaps because it's difficult to do justice to some of the descriptions in a theatrical production. The storm, for example, is almost a character in its own right, and demands a convincing representation.

There's another important reason I felt this would make a great graphic novel. Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be performed, and yet their greatness rests as much on their merits as literature – on the experience they give a reader – as on their theatrical power. I think the graphic novel form is a perfect bridge between the printed word and theatrical performance. I am so pleased to be able to make Lear, with its incredible imagery and drama, available in this format.