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Manga Shakespeare: Julius Caesar

Words by Richard Appignanesi

Art by Mustashrik

Paperback, 208 pp, £9.99

"Beware the ides of March," warns a soothsayer in Shakespeare's classic portrayal of noble ideals turned to bloodshed. Caesar, grown arrogant on military victory, assumes the people will acclaim his dictatorship. But the staunch republicans Brutus and Cassius conspire to assassinate him. Civil war follows, as Antony and Octavius seek revenge. This manga recreation of Shakespeare's text transfers the action from ancient Rome to a futuristic city-state, once again facing tyranny after its prolonged struggles to establish a democracy.

Julius Caesar is part of Manga Shakespeare, a series of graphic novel adaptations of William Shakespeare's plays. Drawing inspiration from trend-setting Japan and using Shakespeare's original texts, this series – adapted by Richard Appignanesi and illustrated by leading manga artists – brings to life the great Bard's words for students, Shakespeare enthusiasts and manga fans.


Mustashrik is a London-based artist and director. Since adapting Julius Caesar for SelfMadeHero's Manga Shakespeare series, he has gone on to work as a designer and illustrator for some of the world's biggest brands, from Sky to Stella Artois. As a director, he has created videos for musicians Ladyhawke and Ed Sheeran, and for fashion labels Louis Vuitton and Chloé. Aside from his creative work, Mustashrik has led workshops and panel events at the ICA, the Sir John Soanes Museum and the Cape Town Literature Festival, among others.

Richard Appignanesi

Richard Appignanesi is a PhD graduate in classical art history. He was a founder and co-director of the Writers & Readers Publishing Cooperative, and later of Icon Books Ltd, where he served as originating editor of the internationally acclaimed illustrated Beginners and Introducing series, to which he contributed his own bestselling titles, Freud, Postmodernism, Existentialism and others. A former executive editor of the art journal Third Text, reviews editor of Futures and exhibition curator, Richard is the author of the fiction trilogy Italia Perversa, the novel Yukio Mishima’s Report to the Emperor and the Granta title What do Existentialists Believe? For SelfMadeHero, he adapted the texts for the Manga Shakespeare series, as well as The Wolf Man and Hysteria in the Graphic Freud series.


"If I have my way, comics will play their part in the literacy debate. My son has no interest in English at school, but has devoured three Manga Shakespeare graphic novels, plus the graphic novel of Kafka's The Trial." 
— Ian Rankin
"This series does in book form what film director Baz Luhrmann did on screen – make Shakespeare cool and accessible to a younger generation… [the] artists use the dynamic flow of manga to give Shakespeare's plots an addictive page-turning energy."
— Independent on Sunday