Canadian Crowdfunding success: To be, or not to be, your usual Hamlet: A choose-your-own Shakespeare adventure comic

Noor Javed, Staff Reporter  |  The Toronto Star  |  Published on Tuesday November 27, 2012

Ryan North represents another CANADIAN SUCCESS (on US based Kickstarter), exceeding his $20k funding goal attracting almost 6,000 backers and over $200,000 funding capital (10 x target raise) with 20 days remaining in the campaign.

Support/view the campaign now:  here


to be or not to be 203x300 - Canadian Crowdfunding success:  To be, or not to be, your usual Hamlet: A choose-your-own Shakespeare adventure comic

A Toronto-based comic book writer has written a choose-your-own adventure version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet filled with vengeful ghosts, pirate sword fights and illustrations of over a hundred different ways your character can meet his fate.

Ryan North launched his project on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter on Nov. 21, with the goal of raising $20,000. It took just three hours to raise the money. As of Tuesday morning, less than a week since he took his book online, it has raised almost $150,000 — with 23 days still left to contribute.

North, author of Dinosaur Comics, says the illustrated book, called To Be or Not to Be, is a modern re-telling of the Shakespearean classic with the option to “go off the plot and do whatever you want.” But despite the fun illustrations, done by over 60 artists, he is adamant that his rendition does not stray too far from the original.

“In a sense it’s a modern re-telling of the play, but you can also go off the plot and do whatever you want,” said North.

Readers start by choosing a character. They can be Hamlet; King Hamlet “investigating your own murder”; or Ophelia, who “can choose what you want to do with your life: help your boyfriend who’s crying about a spooky ghost, or I don’t know TAKE DOWN INTERNATIONAL TERRORISTS INSTEAD??” North says online.

The characters each have dozens of storylines they can follow, and if they die, they can also play the ghost of their character.

He says readers with a preference for the original can also choose the path that Shakespeare takes, identified by “little skulls of Yorick” that pop up. And if you are a sucker for Shakespearean English, for each of the big speeches you can stay in the original beautiful language or choose a modern twist — with Hamlet rapping.

In traditional choose-your-adventure books, as in the original Hamlet, your character sometimes dies — which can be “way sucky.” But, in this one, you at least get illustrations of all the possible deaths.

“You can die a lot in a book like this, and I want to make each time something to look forward to. I want it to be a treat,” he writes. Each of the 110 deaths is illustrated.

North said he was “super surprised” to see the overwhelming response, and wasn’t prepared for it. He had set goals for what he would do, or how he would add to the project, if more money came in. He had only gone up to $100,000 — at which point he has promised to do a sequel.

The book publisher Breadpig will donate all profits from the book to the Canadian Cancer Society.

“My wife was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and while the treatment is going well . . . I know I can’t help cure the cancer directly, but at least I can help the people who are working on it,” North said.

Source:  here