Monday, January 14, 2013

First Impressions: Zombie Hamlet

Shakespear Shaken
 “Zombie Hamlet”
Written by Jeremy Whitley
Art by Gabriel Dunston
Red Stylo Media


            This is the first time in a LONG time that I read an anthology. Yet, cause of the size of the anthology, I am only reviewing Jeremy Whitley’s Zombie Hamlet.  Many of the key moments of the classic play were in this satirical adaption.  We saw people dying. We found that Hamlet’s father was actually turned into a zombie. There is a lot of modern dialogue to translate a lot of Shakespear’s original lines. Modern sensibilities to go along with this classic work.

            After Hamlet becomes a Zombie, the main characters continue to blanantly give you hints as to the fact that Hamlet’s uncle had his dad killed. The twist of Hamlet’s father being a zombie and making Hamlet one speaks volumes. And I will get into that when we talk about the writing.


   Gabriel Dunston’s cartoon style, at first glance, would make feel like it is wrong for something like Zombie Hamlet. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! Dunston’s simple, cartoony art really help fit the themes of Hamlet being dumbdown for the understand while being witty artistically.

            The simple pencils and inks really allow readers to take this work for what it is … a satire. But, there were enough images that were some what frightening. When Hamlet first got bitten or when Hamlet bites the fingers off of Ophelia. This combination of creepy-ness and comedy really work to make the work stand out. Kudos to Dunston on a job well done.


            Jeremy Whitley … you magnificent bastard I read your book!! And boy, there is a lot to be said with the piece. Whitley gave a very entertaining view of Hamlet but also really made some resounding statements about many people/readers today of contemporary works. Hamlet was a tragedy that told of betrayal but that story of betrayal was layered with the current, feverish fascination of the undead that much of American is having.

            If you don’t believe me …. Two words: Walking Dead.

            All other arguments are invalid after that. Anyway, Whitley makes plenty of statements which include the following in just this story: Many readers/viewers want to have their hand held/spoon fed information; they do not want to figure it out. This was proven with the sheer amount of obvious and funny statements with many characters throughout the story.

            Another statement was how just because something is zombie, many readers will flock to it. Whitley even says as much at the beginning of the story. Obvious statement is obvious indeed. Also, another statement on society and acceptance of fallen marriages and betrayal: as if many people, but not all considering Hamlet BEFORE he became a zombie, are pretty much desensitized by a man’s own brother is sleeping with his wife. And said wife just seems to wave it off.  The gore itself was a statement, continuing the desensitizing of readers/viewers. And the final panel is its own statement.

     All this within 20 pages of a satire of a classic work. Mr. Whitley, I salute you.


            Zombie Hamlet proved itself to be a radical, fresh work that was both fun and eye opening. Dunston’s art really complimented Whitley’s statements extremely well. And the over all pacing of the story worked within the confines of the 20 pages it had. Whitley’s humor shined through and made the horror within the story gripping. Well done to both of them.

 I give Zombie Hamlet …. A 9.5 out of 10.

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