Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Professor Thy Phu


This project adopts a formalist method of literary analysis to approach the modern genre of Shakespearean comic book adaptations. These texts have as yet received little attention from the academy, despite their sophisticated engagement with problems of visualizing the transition from stage to comics page, as well as their capacity for making original contributions to the interpretation of Shakespearean drama. The formalist method that this thesis employs is derived from the foundational work of comics theorists Will Eisner and Scott McCloud, combined with an understanding of Shakespearean language and stage conventions. Once this method is developed and explained, the dissertation uses it in a series of readings demonstrating the ability of Shakespearean comic books to emulate and elaborate on early modern staging practices, engage sensitively and imaginatively with Shakespeare’ literary language, and actually contribute to interpretive scholarly discussion of Shakespearean drama. Although many texts are examined, there is a particular emphasis on versions of The Merchant of Venice and Macbeth, which represent two extremes of the comics medium’s versatile formal engagement with Shakespearean themes.