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Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents: Macbeth, by Ian Lendler and Zack Giallongo

Review copy provided by First Second.

Best Macbeth Evar.

Okay, so. This is a comic–a graphic novel, but I think a one-off, just long enough to be its own volume. And the conceit is that the animals at the Stratford Zoo are putting on Macbeth after hours. Macbeth is a lion who eats everybody else. It is hilarious. The shorthanding of the play, the audience reactions, the casting, the whole nine yards. You will probably spot Macduff’s punchline coming, but it’s still funny. The panel with Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, and the rubber ducky is my favorite. It’s just. It’s very, very silly. If you take a very, very serious view of Macbeth and will not be able to bear jokes and zoo animals applied to it, this is so not for you.

Some of the jokes will be entirely at the level that I expect my godchildren to get. This is a fabulous way to get them all the very basic cultural references to Macbeth they will need to navigate as tiny cultured individuals, and I intend to use it that way. There are several other jokes that will go over their heads, and that’s fine too, because it’s not a book that will shut them out when they don’t get one joke.

I did not expect to particularly like this book, honestly. When it arrived in today’s mail, I was coming home from a used bookstore accident with several things I am incredibly excited about, and I thought, eh, well, we’ll give it a shot, how long can it take? And I was so very pleasantly surprised. Definitely keeping it, definitely sharing with the godkids, who love comics and silliness.

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One for sorrow, two for…holy crud, that’s a lot of crows.

I know at least two rhymes for counting crows, off the top of my head (“One for sorrow, two for joy,” they both start out), but I just looked out in my backyard, and there were dozens of crows. Scores of crows. There were not more crows than I could shake a stick at, because I would just stand at the back door and shake it broadly. But I don’t really want to go shake a stick at the crows, because it has a sort of Hitchcockian vibe at the moment. Say what you will in favor of Lovecraft, pulsing horrors mostly don’t show up in my backyard without notice. And giant flocks of birds…apparently do.

So what I want to know is: where does the crow counting rhyme go after seven or, in some extreme cases, ten? It’s really looking to me like the fortune-telling aspect will start to wear thin with a flock like this. “Forty-seven for a hangnail…forty-eight for your library books came in…forty-nine for, uh, a sale on the kind of cheese you don’t want to buy….”