Brooke McEldowney releases Midsummer Nights Dream

9 Chickweed Lane cartoonist Brooke McEldowney will be releasing a new book this month entitled “Pibgorn Rep: A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The book, based on his webcomic Pibgorn and William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream is 176 pages and the forward was written by Alan Dean Foster.

During its original appearance online the cause of simultaneous exultation, controversy and vituperation, this bawdy performance of Shakespeare’s play in cartoon format has occasioned innumerable requests for issuance in book form. College professors of English literature, high school teachers of same, have proposed it as a text in their courses; Shakespeare lovers (most of them) have solicited it for their bookshelves. Pibgorn fans in general have importuned me for it. All the more curious because other readers have reviled it as an obnoxious, Elizabethan imposition on their reading comfort, and others still have assessed it as rather dirty (although that last bit was not actually an objection). Looking back on the original installments of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” I have to confess that I nearly scrubbed the project in its final days, refusing to capitulate when I was told that my adaptation had become too salacious for readers (“soft porn” was the term ventured editorially, and highly inaccurately, to describe it) and that I perforce would have to tone it down. The truth is, the steeds of prurience had already thundered from those stables â?? but because the subject was Shakespeare, my online custodians had been snoring at their swabs. (I’ll try to purée that metaphor later.) With less than an hour to spare, and desirous to see the story to its close, I relented and bowdlerized the penultimate drawing as stipulated (the honeymoon couples abed on their wedding night were required to be dressed â?? turning Lysander and Hermia into Ken and Barbie â?? a corruption now purged, I am pleased to say, from the book).

The present edition comprises nearly all of the original art. Some drawings I polished a bit, a couple I dropped because I hated them, and I dished up five new panels because I just wanted to. There’s also a small glossary in the back, and a rather longer introduction by me in the front.

I am most proud and honored to say that Alan Dean Foster very kindly provided the foreword to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and I can’t thank him enough. Did I say it is an honor? Well, it is an honor.

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