The Massacre at Paris

It’s the 426th anniversary of Christopher Marlowe getting stabbed rather fatally in the face in a tavern in Deptford, aged 29. He wrote seven plays, possibly collaborated on more, and heavily influenced Shakespeare. Let’s pour one out for Kit as we take a look at The Massacre at Paris. (Good title…)

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That’s it for Marlowe May! Hope you’ve had fun with all the hideous death and drama. Now, go out there and bombast out a blank verse in Kit’s memory!

Upcoming Appearance

Next month I’m returning to my first and favorite comics event, the Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival! I’m super-excited to be joining A2CAF for their 10th year anniversary. Stop by, say hi, and maybe pick up the free A2CAF 10th anniversary anthology, featuring an exclusive comic by yours truly!

  • WHO: Me! In person!

  • WHAT: Exhibiting in Artist’s Alley!

  • WHERE: Ann Arbor District Library, Downtown

  • WHEN: Saturday, June 15, 12:00pm-6:00pm, and Sunday, June 16, 12:30pm-5:30pm

  • WHY: Because it’ll be fun, and I’d love to see you there!

Edward II (in 3 Panels)

It’s still MARLOWE MAY and here today we have the ONLY Marlowe play I’ve actually seen so far! I’m a sucker for history plays, and Marlowe’s Edward II is basically the prequel to Edward III, and, by extension, all the rest of Shakespeare’s histories. Let’s get (haha) stuck in!

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Poor Eddie 2. Objectively he was a TERRIBLE king but still… seems harsh.

Upcoming Appearance

Next month I’m returning to my first and favorite comics event, the Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival! I’m super-excited to be joining A2CAF for their 10th year anniversary. Stop by, say hi, and maybe pick up the free A2CAF 10th anniversary anthology, featuring an exclusive comic by yours truly!

  • WHO: Me! In person!

  • WHAT: Exhibiting in Artist’s Alley!

  • WHERE: Ann Arbor District Library, Downtown

  • WHEN: Saturday, June 15, 12:00pm-6:00pm, and Sunday, June 16, 12:30pm-5:30pm

  • WHY: Because it’ll be fun, and I’d love to see you there!

Dr. Faustus (in 3 Panels)

Marlowe May rolls on, with what is probably the most famous line ever penned by Christopher Marlowe. All together now…

WAS THIS THE FACE THAT LAUNCHED A THOUSAND SHIPS, AND BURNT THE TOPLESS TOWERS OF ILIUM?

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As ever, thanks to my pocket dramaturg Kate Pitt for making sure I, a Marlowe neophyte, did justice to the play. Or at least as much justice as can be done in three panels.

Tune in next week for a look at the final two Marlowe masterpieces!

Upcoming Appearance

Next month I’m returning to my first and favorite comics event, the Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival! I’m super-excited to be joining A2CAF for their 10th year anniversary. Stop by, say hi, and maybe pick up the free A2CAF 10th anniversary anthology, featuring an exclusive comic by yours truly!

  • WHO: Me! In person!

  • WHAT: Exhibiting in Artist’s Alley!

  • WHERE: Ann Arbor District Library, Downtown

  • WHEN: Saturday, June 15, 12:00pm-6:00pm, and Sunday, June 16, 12:30pm-5:30pm

  • WHY: Because it’ll be fun, and I’d love to see you there!

The Jew of Malta (in 3 Panels)

It’s Marlowe May! Everyone is familiar with Shakespeare’s Problematic Potentially Anti-Semitic Jewish Play, right? But did you know it’s a comparatively warm and fuzzy affair compared to Christopher Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta, written around six years earlier?

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There’s… there’s just so much to unpack here…

Upcoming Appearance

Next month I’m returning to my first and favorite comics event, the Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival! I’m super-excited to be joining A2CAF for their 10th year anniversary. Stop by, say hi, and maybe pick up the free A2CAF 10th anniversary anthology, featuring an exclusive comic by yours truly!

  • WHO: Me! In person!

  • WHAT: Exhibiting in Artist’s Alley!

  • WHERE: Ann Arbor District Library, Downtown

  • WHEN: Saturday, June 15, 12:00pm-6:00pm, and Sunday, June 16, 12:30pm-5:30pm

  • WHY: Because it’ll be fun, and I’d love to see you there!

Dido, Queen of Carthage (in 3 Panels)

It’s MARLOWE MAY! Every Tuesday and Thursday of this month we’ll be taking an extremely quick look at one of Christopher Marlowe’s plays, starting with Dido, Queen of Carthage!

Some more people die at the end too, but I didn’t have enough space to include them after drawing that pyre.

Shout-out to my pocket dramaturg, Kate Pitt, for consulting with me on this comic!

The Ohio Light Opera 2017 Season in 3 Panels Each!

It's almost time for my favorite light opera theatre company's season to start! The Ohio Light Opera kicks off their 2017 season this weekend. Let's see what they have in store for us this year...

We start off with a couple well-known musicals, the first being Meredith's Willson's magnum opus, The Music Man. 

So far so good. Next up is Cole Porter's Anything Goes. 

When you think about Anything Goes, you think about all the great song and dance numbers. You never think about the denouement with the dubious Chinese disguises. That's because it's stupid. 

OLO was kind enough to program the same Gilbert and Sullivan operetta that is playing at the Stratford Festival this year, so I didn't have to draw a new comic of it:

"THIS RESOLVES EVERYTHING SOMEHOW", a.k.a. the motto of most Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. I loves 'em.

From Gilbert and Sullivan to Gershwin, Primrose looks like a nice, typical, early American musical, with lots of couples getting mixed up.

Side note: I really resent drawing 3-panel plays of shows that have more than two couples in them, because it's a real pain to try and fit six or more people in a single panel. 

A lovely Ruritanian romance classic by Sigmund Romberg is up next:

There always has to be a bittersweet operetta in any OLO season to balance out all the frothy, lighthearted capering, and The Student Prince is this year's offering.

Next up is ONE OF MY FAVORITES AAAAAAAAAH I LOVE IT:

I love Countess Maritza. Apart from Die Fledermaus, it's probably my favorite of the Classical Viennese Operetta genre. The music is great and the plot is actually decent. The last OLO production of Maritza back in 2003 probably ranks as one of my top ten theatrical experiences of all time; I'm not even joking.

OK, next up we have this hot mess: 

Don't ask me any questions about this one. I have absolutely no answers, but it's currently in the running for this season's Stupidest Plot in a Musical or Operetta award. I absolutely can't wait to see it. If it's half as stupid as Herbert's Dream City and the Magic Knight, it'll be a real winner. 

And that's the Ohio Light Opera's 2017 season! If you're in Midwest, seriously think about checking them out - they've perfected the art of balancing the madcap stupidity and unapologetic melodrama of operetta and early American musicals, and it's always a delight to watch them. I can't wait to visit them in August!

Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival

In other news, I will be exhibiting at the Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival (nee Kids Read Comics) this weekend! Stop by the downtown Ann Arbor District Library between 12:00pm and 5:30pm on Saturday and Sunday and say hello! I will be selling the usual t-shirts, posters, and comic books. It's going to be a lot of fun!

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The Stratford Festival 2017 Season... in 3 Panels!

Spring is in the air, which means the Stratford Festival's season is getting underway, so it's about time for me to put together a handy guide to the plays that will be appearing on their myriad stages this year. This season the theme is "Questions of Identity".

We start with one of my all-time favorite musicals:

Then we have one of my all-time favorite piratical swashbucklers:

And then this play. I guess it's a classic of some sort, I dunno...

From Shakespearean classic to Gilbert and Sullivan classic:

I've written a theme song for this next play. It goes like this: "Who lives in a hole and acts quite beastly? SPONGETIMON ATHENSPANTS! Embittered and dirty and misanthropic is he. SPONGETIMON ATHENSPANTS!"

Then, for all your gender-bending needs, we have what is probably my favorite Shakespearean comedy:

It may seem like writing a three-panel summary of a play is a fairly straightforward endeavor. Unfortunately, this is only true when the play itself is relatively straightforward, unlike our next offering:

"After many confusions" is code for "too much stupid stuff happened for me to adequately distill in this format."

Then it's time for a play by one of Shakespeare's contemporaries, Thomas Middleton:

There's a whole complicated subplot that I haven't even bothered to address here. Anyways. Keeping with the "bodies everywhere" theme, we have this classical offering:

Up next are a couple of new plays, so I may not be 100% accurate with these summaries. First is a follow-up to The Last Wife, Kate Hennig's play about the life of Katherine Parr. This one revolves around a young Elizabeth I and her highly-problematic relationship with Thomas Seymour:

The Breathing Hole is another new play by Colleen Murphy. I may not have all the details right, but the important thing to remember here is that it stars a polar bear.

These two new Canadian plays are followed by a pair of French plays, one classic:

...and one a bit more contemporary:

The final play of Stratford's season is The Komagata Maru Incident. It's framed in a very metatheatrical way, which I'm going to totally skip over here and just tell you what is being metatheatrically portrayed. 

(Stick figures don't do "metatheatrical" very well....)

And that's the Stratford Festival's 2017 season! Speaking of which, I will be participating in the Festival's Forum this season as part of a panel entitled "Willy Shakes: Fanboy". Here are the details:

WHO: Me and the Kill Shakespeare guys (Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery)
WHAT: A panel discussion on Shakespeare, comics, graphic novels, and whatever else.
WHEN: Tuesday, September 6, 10:45am
WHERE: The Chalmers Lounge at the Avon Theatre, Stratford, ON
WHY: Because they asked me to and it sounded really cool.
HOW: You can check out the details and buy tickets online!

If you're in the Stratford area, I hope to see you there!

Cardenio (in 3 Panels)

We continue our 3-panel play journey through Shakespeare's "apocrypha" with a closer look at Shakespeare's infamous lost play, Cardenio!

GET IT? BECAUSE IT'S LOST? HAHAHAHAHA I AM SO FUNNY

...ahem. But seriously, folks...

Cardenio, based off an episode from Miguel Cervantes's novel Don Quixote, is a lost play attributed to Shakespeare and his frequent collaborator John Fletcher. It is "lost" because, while we have a record of its existence and performance, it does not exist in manuscript or published form.

In the 18th century, editor Lewis Theobald claimed to have come into possession of several manuscripts of a hitherto unknown Shakespeare play, which he edited into Double Falsehood. The manuscripts he used have mysteriously disappeared. It's impossible to say if Double Falsehood is, indeed, Cardenio, but it seems to be as close as we're going to get to the lost play. 

If you really want to know what happened to Cardenio, you should read Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde. I can't recommend Fforde's Thursday Next series of books enough, by the way. Lots of Shakespeare and literary in-jokes wrapped up in a totally surreal universe.