Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Shakespeare and Neil Gaiman

Gaiman, Neil. The Absolute Sandman. Illus. Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli, Kelley Jones, Charles Vess, Colleen Doran, Malcolm Jones, III, and Steve Parkhouse. Vol. 1. New York: DC Comics, 2006.

Bardfilm is occasionally so far behind the times that allusions to Shakespeare in Pop Culture pass into allusions to Shakespeare in Classic Literature.

But today is Neil Gaiman's birthday, so I feel less out-of-date in mentioning allusions to Shakespeare in comic books from the late 1980s.

There are quotations from and allusions to Shakespeare throughout the series (which I have not read in full). Indeed, this post only scratches the surface of Sandman's use of Shakespeare! But one issue receives particular attention because it bears the title of one of Shakespeare's early comedies: A Midsummer Night's Dream.

That issue (from which the images in this post are taken), in addition to being less gory than its predecessors, is intriguing for its integration of the world of the comic with the world of Shakespeare. Morpheus, who met Shakespeare in an earlier issue, meets up with Shakespeare's troop to see a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The audience consists of creatures from the fairy world of the play—including Puck, who, like Shakespeare's character, gets caught up in the action of the play before him.

Gaiman's mixing of imaginary worlds can be seen as a homage to Shakespeare—and to imaginative literature in general.

"Lord, what fools these mortals be": An image from the first issue. Shakespeare in general and A Midsummer Night's Dream in particular were already part of Sandman's world at that point.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

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