BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
When contemplating his next graphic novel, Clarkston comic writer Shaun Manning turned to the classics.
“The first time I remember reading Shakespeare was during my study period in seventh or eighth grade at Clarkston Middle School,” said Manning, a 1998 Clarkston High School grad. “I don’t even think it was for an assignment, I picked up Macbeth as something I’d heard about and just gave it a look. The language was fascinating. I picked up on the rhythms even though I didn’t really have any way to describe what I was experiencing.”
Manning tells the tragic tale of the noble king’s rise to power and heroic last stand in his new graphic novel, “Macbeth: The Red King,” to be published by Lucha Comics.
He teamed up with artist Anna Wieszczyk, also his partner in the webcomic “Hell, Nebraska” and “Interesting Drug” graphic novel.
“I’ve always loved Shakespeare’s tragedies,” said Manning, who read the bard’s “Romeo and Juliet” for a couple classes at CHS, and also watched the 1968 movie .
“Then the Baz Luhrmann version with Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio came out when I was a junior, and that was this major event,” he said. “We got a big group together to go see it. I think that movie also showed me just how many different things you could do with the same story.”
The story of Macbeth is based on real historical events, which is fascinating, Manning said.
“Very loosely based, as it turns out,” the writer said. “He ruled for 15 years in a tumultuous era, he traveled to Rome to meet with the pope, he had a stepson who would have had very good reason to hate him. None of that’s in play in Shakespeare’s work, and it all adds up to a really fascinating story that’s been lost to history. That’s the story Anna and I are telling with this book.”
Historically, the early 11th century Scottish monarch was a strong and effective ruler with more legitimate claim to the throne than the man he overthrew, he said.
He’s looking to set up comic shop signings in May and June.
“Comic City has been a great supporter of my books,” he said. “The Pontiac store is where I shopped in high school and I’ve enjoyed stopping in whenever I can. I’m also hoping to exhibit at the new Michigan Comic Con at Cobo in August.”
Separately, they have worked with Dark Horse, IDW, Black Mask Studios, and other Indie publishers. A historical fiction starring Muhammad Ali, “The Fight We Never Saw,” is forthcoming.
For more information, check Kickstarter for “Macbeth: The Red King.”
BY PHIL CUSTODIO