Normally I wouldn’t care for people revisiting and repurposing old classics. I mean, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was cute. Jane Eyre, Laid Bare was just fan fiction somebody was shamelessly trying to make money off of. So, my natural reaction upon learning that Canadian comic book writer Ryan North was raising funds to rewrite Hamlet into a Choose Your Own Adventure Game might have been scorn, but it’s not.
Because Ryan’s venture fills a critical niche that has been too long unfilled by the publishing industry today. Now, when you see the plot move forward because stupid characters do stupid things, you can change the narrative. Rather than just yell “Run, you idiots! Run!” at the television screen, you can actually shake some sense into the characters.
The possibility are endless. Consider:
Romeo and Juliet
Juliet looks dead. Do you:
A) Drink the poison you brought with you and make an attractive corpse lying by her side?
B) Wise up, check for a pulse, or get a mirror to see if she’s still breathing, you dolt?
Thunder is crashing and the corpse is ready. Do you:
A) Pull the switch to winch the dead body up where it will receive the dazzling, life-giving bolt from the heavens, sealing your fate as a modern prometheus and incurring the wrath of the fates forever?
B) Decide that messing around with the natural order of things is probably unwise and look into a correspondence course in kinesiology instead?
Every Horror Story Ever Written
You are entering a dark place. Do you:
A) Say, “What could possibly go wrong?”
B) Take a baseball bat, wait in the shadows and bash in the head of the first person who says, “What could possibly go wrong?”
Seriously, though: what Ryan North has done looks to be brilliant. I love his play on the phrase “To Be, Or Not to Be”, and he appears to have a pretty wry take on the whole Hamlet mythos (I mean, come on: Hamlet is “an emo teen in his early 30s”?). I want this book! And I am contributing to Ryan North’s Kickstarter campaign to help him publish this book. I encourage you to do so as well.
Hat tip to Arthur Slade for bringing this to my attention.