—A moment of silence for Blanco, aka Shadowfax, who, much like Chris Hemsworth, galloped his gorgeous, commanding, and impressively white form into our hearts.—
It’s been well-established that there’s lot of potential at the intersection of history and webcomics. Just ask Kate Beaton. There’s really no substitute for gentlemen and ladies of state and grandeur being drawn with squiggly lines as they go about changing the course of two-dimensional, three-panel history. To that point, who has been a greater collector of the great personages of history than William Shakespeare? When he wasn’t too busy being a gay man, or any number of women, or having serious jungle fever, or being legion (for apparently he was many), Shakespeare captured giants of history from Julius Caesar to Richard III to Pericles.
As such, that makes his work fertile ground for the sometimes droll, oftentimes hilarious work of one Mya Gosling, the author over at “Good Tickle-Brain”. This title, as Gosling is glad to inform us, is one of Shakespeare’s most delightfully absurd insults. It also serves as a good touchstone for the kind of referential humor she’s wielding in her three panel Shakespeare comics. Take this one for example:
These three-panel plays fill the void in your life where CliffsNotes used to be or where Thug Notes would be if you’d always secretly imagined your literature professor in a do-rag. They’re rarely the sort to make you fall out of your bed from laughter, but they’re at the right intersection of dryness and pith to call loving attention to the many absurdities in both Shakespeare’s work and the history he describes.
If tiny laugh-without-opening-your mouth comics aren’t your thing, well, you’re actually probably out of luck, but, there’s more than just Shakespeare summaries to be had. You could repose while enjoying a tiny version of the classic Beowulf or something promisingly titled The Adventure of Inspector Lestrade’s Crumbling Self-Esteem. They’re both quite charming. In fact, you’d be well-served not to ignore her collection of comics derived from Canada’s Stratford Festival, or the slowly growing collection of Shakespearean What-Ifs.
It’s all delightful, but that’s actually not the reason that Mya Gosling’s work is my web crush this week. Rather, it’s what they reflect on Gosling’s part that has grabbed my attention. Of herself, she says, “my destiny was to be an extremely enthusiastic and discerning member of the audience, and that I should leave the acting business to the professionals.” She’s taken a passionate obsession and turned it into creative endeavor, which is the point.
Adorable as they are, these comics aren’t simply throwaway jokes. If you’re not up on your Shakespeare, some of them will make you work a little bit. That’s a good thing. You can read a comic artist’s entire web presence and not learn anything, and that’s simply not the case here. You can check out Gosling on Twitter and Facebook. I’ll leave you with this pleasant reminder of all the ways that Titus Andronicus is just like A Song of Ice and Fire: