Two young lovers embark on a dangerous plan to be together despite an ancient feud between their warring families.
Set in the 14th century Italian city of Verona, William Shakespeare's most famous play, is the tragic tale of a doomed romance between Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet. After gate-crashing a masquerade party, Romeo meets and falls in madly in love with Juliet, the daughter of his father's enemy. Refusing to embrace the blind hatred of their families, the pair plan to secretly wed and flee the city for a new life. But fates conspire when a member of Juliet's family is killed in a duel with Romeo. Banished from the city for murder, Romeo plots his return unaware that Juliet has set in motion a desperate plan for them to be together.
Romeo and Juliet has been popular for over 400 years! Think about that number for a moment. How many works of fiction have been popular for that long? Think about the films and television programs you've seen in the last 20 years. Will people still be watching them four centuries from now? Will their characters be known the world over?
There are currently 3 or 4 graphic-novel versions of Romeo & Juliet in circulation, and they range in quality from merely functional to down-right sacrilegious. Some of these books don't even include Shakespeare's original text! If you remove Shakespeare's words - what's the point? In this case, a rose by any other name, does NOT smell as sweet!
If you're a fan of Shakespeare and you want to see it done right - then please join our crowdfunding effort so we can make this happen together!
Below are sample pages from Act 1, Scene 1.
Summary: The play opens with Gregory and Sampson, two servants of the house of Capulet. They exchange rude comments and discuss brawling with men of the house of Montague. Moments later they run into Abraham and Balthasar, servants of Lord Montague, and a fight breaks out. Benvolio, a kinsman to Lord Capulet, tries to stop the fight but Tybalt, a kinsman to Lord Montague, arrives and attacks Benvolio. The fight quickly spreads into a large street brawl.
Phone/Mobile viewers: For a better look at the artwork, click the link below.
The Perfect Format
The graphic novel format is the perfect medium for Shakespeare's plays. In a typical book-to-graphic-novel adaptation you lose much of the narrative and exposition. All the effort spent by the author crafting the thoughts running through their characters' minds is either greatly shortened or cut out entirely. This doesn't happen in a play! A play is pure dialogue - which is perfect for a graphic novel. We are in the rare position to ADD to a work of fiction without taking anything AWAY.
Our approach to this adaptation is to create the most AUTHENTIC experience possible. We won't be adding anything that isn't already there. Unlike the horrendous 2014 film version which adds brand new lines to Shakespeare's play (heresy) and has characters speaking lines that don't belong to them. We will be adhering strictly to the original play.
About the Artist
Jorge Gonzalez is one of the most visually imaginative artists working in graphic novels today. His work combines the aesthetics of old photographs and modern art pieces using delicate pencil drawings and earthy renderings of crayon, color pencils, pastels, oil and inks. His graphic novel Fueye won the 2009 FNAC-Sinsentido First Prize for a Graphic Novel. He has published numerous graphic novels and children's books.
In the past, we have worked with over 300 comic-book artists, animators and character designers. None of them had the visual style we were looking for. The last thing we wanted was a Marvel or DC comic book feeling. We wanted to mirror Shakespeare's unique language by crafting a visual look that belonged entirely to our version of "Romeo & Juliet" alone. We chose Jorge over many hundreds of artists because of his ground-breaking style. Look at the expanded panel below - you can feel the richness and texture of the paint-strokes. The simple character designs, the subdued detailing of the background and the formless architecture gives this panel a raw, authentic quality. And authenticity is our main goal!
Below are a few character designs for the play. Our main goal here was to keep all the characters feeling as AUTHENTIC as possible to 14th century Italy. Jorge's typically style meshes perfectly with that theme. His characters are appealing yet simple. This section will be updated as we fund the project and continue developing characters and environments.
more early concept and design work
Each page will be laid out in pencil and then pain-stakingly hand-painted to give the most natural and organic feeling to the pages.
JORGE GONZALEZ GALLERY
Below is selection of various graphic novel and illustration work drawn by Jorge Gonzalez.
Jorge Gonzalez, at work in his studio.