A lot of you must have heard about ‘Classic Comics’ in which classic works of literature are turned into comic format to entice young or reluctant readers into reading such timeless stories. Apart from that famed series however, various other comics exist out there for those educators, be them teachers or parents, who wish to make their lessons more fun and exciting.

As a history teacher I always snoop around trying to check what’s novel out there and I was fortunate to stumble upon Round Table Comics publication of Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’. The text of ‘The Prince’ which is one of the Renaissance’s most acclaimed books, famous for its concise format but immense depth and that is still studied at University level all over the world for its Political Philosophy nature; was adapted and illustrated in a nifty way by Shane Clester.

The comic version of ‘The Prince’ is compressed in 50 pages and it is divided exactly in the chapters of the original book. Shane Clester also retains the same chapter titles and most of Machiavelli’s famous quotes were unaltered. As a fan of Machiavelli and his book, and one who had a full assignment and presentation defending this ruthless prince, even though the comic is a bridged version, the full grandeur of ‘The Prince’ is felt through out the book. Students will be able to appreciate the political philosophy behind the narration, to understand the various historical anecdotes provided by Machiavelli and have a clear idea of how society and politics in Renaissance Italy worked.

The artwork by Shane Clester is comical, almost manga-ish but extremely detailed and polished. Clester took his time to research the ambience of Italy, to research the people mentioned in the text and the clothes that they wore. This comes through the black and white designs that are presented in various panels per pages. ‘The Prince’ is portrayed as a small kid, a typical brat who wants everything now, and yet with Machiavelli at his side he learns how to become the right ruler for Italy illustrating slowly the steps needed to become a strong and powerful leader that is feared more than loved and that is just but also ruthless in battle.

The original text is written in form of a diary or a letter by Machiavelli. The personality of the writer comes through the text as a voice of a kind and wise friend who has ‘The Prince’s’ career at heart. The advice is strong but also benevolent. Machiavelli drew examples from history from the life of great heroes and their demises, from his personal experience as consultant and diplomat; to compile this guidebook for the ideal Prince. Shane Clester masterfully manages to capture this essence in an easy way for students. Crude and violent descriptions in the book are illustrated in a manner that are graphically enticing without being overwhelming. The expressions of the characters are very clear and makes it easy for students to understand the text and the story.

This Round Table Comics production is a very good investment for students, parents and educators. Apart from the 50 pages that contain the story, it also has information about Machiavelli, the context of the book and a small sketch gallery at the back. My final verdict is of course very positive and I highly recommend it for your library along side Machiavelli’s original work.

Comic Specs:

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Writers Of The Round Table Press (October 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610660161
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610660167
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.2 x 10.8 inches
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