De Luca and Hamlet

Thinking Outside the Box

in European Comic Art
Restricted access

Gianni De Luca's 1975 adaptation of Hamlet converted 30,000 words into 48 pages of graphic novel. One of the key techniques De Luca drew upon was that of 'continuous narrative', a historically tested method of 'thinking outside the box', whereby the same character, at different stages of the action, can appear several times on a single page. De Luca mastered the technique, making limited use of panel borders, whilst avoiding reader confusion. Nonetheless the method had been used previously, not just in Little Nemo and Gasoline Alley, but as far back as Botticelli's illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy, or even the fifteenth-century Cent nouvelles nouvelles ['The Hundred New Stories']. Subsequently De Luca's technique was to influence graphic novelists as diverse as Fred, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Frank Miller, Joe Sacco and Killoffer.