Graphic Novel TRAGIC Will Retell HAMLET from a Queer Lens

Legendary Comics is celebrating the Bard’s 457th birthday with a big announcement. Next year, readers will get a modern retelling of one of William Shakespeare‘s most famous plays. The graphic novel Tragic will offer a new perspective on Hamlet, with a story told from a queer lens.

Tragic will reimagine Shakespeare’s legendary play. In a story inspired by both the plot and themes of the iconic work. But it will also provide a new way of looking at the tale of murder, revenge, and family. Tragic features a young queer main character.

The full front cover of the graphic novel Tragic, which shows a character's head split apart with smaller characters insideLegendary Comics

Written by Dana Mele (People Like Us, Summer’s Edge), the comic centers on 17-year-old Harper Hayes. She’s sure her father’s mysterious death was actually murder. And that her uncle who has been sleeping with her mom did it. That sends her on a quest to uncover the truth. From Legendary Comic’s official synopsis:

“With the help of her ex-girlfriend Talia and her best friend (sometimes with benefits) Holden, Harper is determined to find her father’s killer. But when Caius, Talia’s father and Hamilton’s business partner, is also found dead, Harper realizes the answer to Hamilton’s murder is more complicated than she had initially realized. As Harper begins to see her father’s ghost in the form of a teenage Hamlet everywhere and starts slipping into hallucinations of his murder that end with blood on her hands, one thing becomes clear—in order to uncover the truth about what happened to her father, Harper has to confront her own demons and ones that haunt the Hayes family.”

The YA graphic novel thriller, announced on Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23, features artwork from Valentina Pinti (SMASH! Thunderbolt the Avenger, NoLand Comics’ Rust). Chiara Di Francia (Jungle’s Le Renard de Morlange, Les Humanoides’ Associes Hard Rescue) serves as colorist.

“It has been great to work with Dana on bringing a new queer version of Hamlet to the page, and Tragic is such an intriguing retelling,” said Nikita Kannekanti, Editor of Legendary Comics, in a press release. “Valentina and Chiara have done a fantastic job capturing the human and theatrical elements in the vivid art of this tale, and I am really looking forward to sharing Harper and her messy life with readers.”

A woman with glasses and dark red hair.

Dana Mele/Credit: Legendary Comics

For Mele, the origins of the comic began when she played the melancholy Prince of Denmark herself. “Years ago, I played Hamlet in college and what I love about retellings is the familiar heartbeat of a beloved story in sometimes a strange or quirky, unexpected form,” she said in a statement. “I’ve always seen Hamlet as a queer character, as someone with a deeply intimate relationship with Horatio. And if Hamlet were written today, I think it would be a psychological thriller, so that’s the story that came about organically. Tragic, in essence, is about anxieties surrounding identity, obligation, and mortality.”

We will have to wait for the Bard’s 458th birthday to read it, though. Tragic arrives in stores sometime in spring 2022. Is it better to build anticipation? Or would releasing it right now be preferable? As Hamlet himself said, “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

True. But we’d still rather read Tragic right now.

Editor’s Note: Nerdist is a subsidiary of Legendary Digital Networks.

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