Title: Pibgorn Rep: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Authors: William Shakespeare, adapted by Brooke McEldowney
Publisher: Pib Press
Rating: 5/5 stars
Pibgorn Rep: A Midsummer Night's Dream is William Shakespeare's play told through the eyes and visuals of Brooke McEldowney. McEldowney is the creator and writer/illustrator of the daily comic strip 9 Chickweed Lane and the online Comic strip Pibgorn. I truly think that McEldowney may be one of the funniest, wittiest and smartest writers doing comic strips today. I regularly read both comics online, and it's not a day that goes by that I'm not thoroughly entertained.
I had read 9 Chickweed Lane years ago when I lived in Florida, and our local paper ran the strips. I can't be sure, but I think I read it from the very first strip. When I moved to Michigan, I lost track of the strip (I don't think it was run in the papers here). Within the last couple of months, I rediscovered the daily joy of 9 Chickweed Lane online, and by association, discovered McEldowney's other online-exclusive strip, Pibgorn, a fairy and her adventures. I've missed quite a bit of the beginning of Pibgorn, but as luck would have it, McEldowney, through his Pib Press, recently published the very first strips in a collection, Pibgorn: the Girl in the Coffee Cup. I was instantly enamored. I dashed off an email to the lovely people at Pib Press inquiring about further editions of either Pibgorn or 9 Chickweed Lane and was informed to be on the lookout for A Midsummer Night's Dream, which has now been recently published.
This is a real treat; a little candy confection of Shakespearean fun, told through McEldowney's fluid, organic line drawings. Taking a mix of characters from both strips, and changing character's sexes where appropriate for his telling (for instance, Egeus, Hermia's father, has become Egea, her mother and the acting troupe of Pyramus and Thisby are now chorus girls), and with slight changes in the text (in his foreword, McEldowney explains that what is appealing for stage is not always so in the printed word, so some soliloquies were left out of his edition), McEldowney has taken Shakespeare's play and reworked it into a 1930's fashioned gangster presentation.
And it works.
McEldowney has kept true to the story, the words and the essence of Shakespeare's play, and has added his own visual flair, creating a refreshing and just plain fun version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. If you are interested in acquiring a copy of your own, you can contact the fine people at firstname.lastname@example.org, provide them with your zip code and how many copies you would like, and they will let you know a cost. (No, I am in no way affiliated with Pib Press, but I feel that if enough people are introduced to the joy that is McEldowney's work, perhaps we will be smiled upon and more of his strips will be published in collected editions. It's purely selfish reasons for this, as I would love to have more collected editions, but I also feel that most people may not have heard of him before, and he's worth reading.)
April, 2020 - I think I'm going to shut From My Bookshelf down for a while; maybe for good. I've been putting this together for quite a few years now and it's starting to feel a bit more of a chore. I'll keep my Goodreads connected, but with the state of the world right now, I just want to read without worrying about making sure I post something about it. Who knows - when the world starts to make some semblance of sense again, I may start actively posting here again. Until then, as always, happy reading!