March 30, 2010

Indie Reviews: Cheapjack Shakespeare

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Written by: Drew
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Cheapjack Shakespeare
Story and Art by: Shaun McLaughlin

Surely one of the best surprise titles of the year has arrived. Cheapjack Shakespeare is a furiously funny tale that doesn’t disappoint its readers, from the mind of Shaun McLaughlin (writer on Aquaman and such TV shows as Justice League Unlimited and Batman Beyond). Weaving the tale of a college Shakespeare Company’s assorted summer of unappreciative audience woes, infidelity, and lives falling to pieces, Cheapjack Shakespeare delivers, hitting all the points for us.

The writing of  this dramedy is heartfelt, and unfolds the tale nicely without any creakiness. McLaughlin’s characters strike a chord with everyone, as they move through their summer, dealing with their dreams, ambitions, and love lives. There is a very Wes Anderson feeling to these talented people, who just long for something a little bit more underneath the surface than what they have.

The art is a love it or hate it style. It is done in a 3D rendering, which I personally enjoyed and found a nice change from the usual 2D fair. Don’t get me wrong, on no level do I ever wish this style to replace what we use a majority of the time for comics. However, the approach is a refreshing enough break, making it special to Cheapjack Shakespeare, giving it a different edge over the other indie-titles out there on the scene, and the comic its own special world unlike any other. The art echoes the look of Adult Swim’s Xavier: Renegade Angel and has a fun-fondness to it.

Cheapjack Shakespeare is available to download right now through for the kindle, and from Drive-Thru comics for all computers. The tale will be told in twelve chapters available digitally, and later will be released in a collection. McLaughlin is currently working on both a film version and a stage version of this tale as well, which we can look forward to in 2011. You can also visit here for more information.




  1. Billy

    Sounds like a good read. Nice work Drew.

  2. Kristin

    Wow, that sounded right up my alley until I got to this part here: “The art echoes the look of adult swims Xavier: Renegade Angel….”
    Xavier was one of the damn ugliest things I’ve ever seen. I would never pick up anything that looked like that. I think you should clarify whether your comparison is based on the 3D feel only, or if it actually looks like that POS cartoon.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Albert Berry and Comic Attack, Comic Attack. Comic Attack said: Indie Reviews: Cheapjack Shakespeare! #comics #shakespeare #comicbooks […]

  4. Drew

    See I don’t mind Xavier’s animation, it doesn’t bother me and has grown on me.

    That aside, the art really does look like that animation. The art itself is done using an animation story board program, which would explain this look.

  5. The software is actually a general storyboarding program that I use mostly for live action and then I added some stuff in. I can see the similarity to Xavier, but in my defense, I hope it’s a little warmer and more expressive.

    Thanks for the great review, Drew.

  6. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by thepeterpixie: RT @ComicAttack: Indie Reviews: Cheapjack Shakespeare! #comics #shakespeare #comicbooks…

  7. […] Here I am in Buffalo, working on a stage adaptation of graphic-novel Cheapjack Shakespeare (as reviewed here) for the start of Buffalo’s theater season, and I cannot stop thinking about animals with the […]

  8. Did we read the same book? Because I thought it was horrible, poor sloppy story writing, plastic characters with no facial experessions ever, thrown together artwork and had no flow between the panels. Proves one thing; no two reviews do think alike…

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