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Artesia Volume 1 (Artesia)

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4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  242 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
In the Highlands of the Middle Kingdoms, where witchcraft and warlords vie for power, a warrior-priestess named Artesia fights for her king against the rulers of rival citadels. Collecting all six issues of the first Artesia mini-series!
Hardcover, 3rd edition, 192 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Archaia (first published September 1st 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 476)
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Wendy
Nov 18, 2013 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics-manga
Artesia is an epic, Eisner-award nominated masterpiece of story and art. The world, its people and its pantheon are so richly detailed, but as the title says, this story is about Artesia. What an incredible character she is, embodying all aspects of the female, from priestess to warrior to daughter to sister to concubine and eventually, reluctantly, queen. As both concubine, priestess and captain to the king, Artesia begins the story obviously wielding a lot of power and influence. Even the gods ...more
Holly
Dec 02, 2009 Holly rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Women and art lovers
AMazing art! My favorite character of all time. I truly hope this becomes a series of movies! This is adult content! Artesia is very faithful to her path, an amazing priestess, queen, and witch! Artesia worships her Gods with her body with passion and pride!
RogueHireling
Apr 07, 2011 RogueHireling rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This graphic novel is a master piece of blood, spirits, and intrigue. Beautiful artwork supports the story flawlessly.
TK421
Oct 17, 2014 TK421 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Meh...I just do not feel a strong attraction to this story-line. The art is beautiful and really pushes the story to a visually pleasing state. But the writing was too much for me. Perhaps this changes with the rest of the series. Not really sure if I'm going to spend the time finding out.
Micheal
Jul 25, 2014 Micheal rated it really liked it
For maybe the one or two people who actually read my reviews, you may have noticed Im in a bit of a renaissance concerning all things sword and sorcery, fantasy art, films, books; I've even done some half serious shopping for a broadsword to play with and hang on my wall.

So Artesia has been an unexpected treat, introduced to me by ComicbookGirl19 on youtube. This is not your typical comic. Mark Smylie the creator draws, writes and water colors the whole thing himself, and in my opinion it is a j
...more
Nick
This first volume of the series was good, but not great. Really nice artwork, but the main character had the worst-designed set of armor since the early Red Sonja. I mean, having armor that basically protects everything but your upper legs, crotch and buttocks is just stupid. I notice that the design changed in volume 2, so maybe the artist received comments.
The plot itself is just peculiar, and makes Game of Thrones look simple and straightforward, with a number of plot points not making sense
...more
Andrei Ryumin
Jun 29, 2016 Andrei Ryumin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
This book gave me a mixed impression. On the one hand, there are so few comics in true fantasy settings (really, apart from Conan / Red Sonja and ElfQuest, there are no major fantasy comic books, and the rest few are indi comics like this one - there are tons of fantsy books, but virtually no fantasy comic books around - quite a puzzle to me), that this one is worth reading just because of that fact (assuming you like fantasy), and that was the reason I decided to read it. On the other hand, it ...more
Piotr
Mar 29, 2015 Piotr rated it really liked it
Epic story clearly belonging to the grimdark subgenre. Also, military, medieval fantasy. With strong elements of erotica.

Great story, impressive world-building, conservative, but excellent art. Shakespearean language and intrigue.
Still, I have to admit - the first time I got it into my hands, I couldn't get past a few first pages. Why? Well, chain-mail bikini syndrome. My firm belief is that a woman on a quasi-medieval fantasy battlefield needs her armour to cover as much of her body as possibl
...more
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More reviews at the Online Eccentric Librarian http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/

More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/


I tried hard to get into this but the writing and storyline are dense - I just wasn't getting any enjoyment out of it at all. And therein was likely the problem - it felt either pretentious or more like an overindulgent male fantasy. I'm all for female empowerment - and certainly the women in the book know how to make the best of their situations in a world of men. But right at the first four pages, when our protagonist
...more
Greymalkin
Very enjoyable and cool to see women in positions of power without entirely doing away with gender roles and the attitudes that come from that. I wish the main heroine was not *quite* so all-powerful but perhaps that is addressed in future installments. Art and world building are excellent so far. It would have really helped to have a bit more history/context before plunging into the thick of things. I found the descriptions of the pantheon at the back of the graphic novel to be helpful but the ...more
Cassandra Leszczynski
Sep 01, 2016 Cassandra Leszczynski rated it really liked it
granted there is alot of dialogue but this is still a great introduction to a fabulous world along with the characters. There is some erotic parts but it does not play a huge part in the novel, it adds spice to the character development. Read this if you are looking for a strong female character in a military role in with a twist of fantasy.
Jery Schober
Jan 01, 2016 Jery Schober rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
I would give the art 5 stars, the dialogue only 2 - if you're not Shakespeare, don't try to sound like him - there is no lyrical quality or any wit whatsoever in the spoken words.

But what bugs me most is the constant use of unknown names and places and deities - I don't like to be forced to use the appendix to understand what the hell they're talking about. So I refused to look up any word until after I was done and still don't get the references to all these Gods.

Storywise, there's not much to
...more
Josh
Jun 02, 2016 Josh rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, grimdark
Short review here; I like this, but I don't love it yet. It's very confusing, many of the supporting characters I can't tell from each other, and the dialogue is heavily stilted.
Erica McGillivray
Way too much world building focused instead of character focused. I found it hard to be invested in the story. Also Artesia needed full pants like the others, way too much exposure for a warrior. (She gets them in later volumes.)
Megan
The art in this book is really detailed, and the world and premise start out to be really interesting. The series tanks pretty quickly, though. However, it's a beautiful start to a fantasy comic and there aren't really that many good ones out there. I would suggest reading this only if you can pull out before the later books, knowing you won't be getting any resolution to the plot that's set up. I think after about volume three there hasn't been much activity anyway - if this is still an ongoing ...more
Chris Tower
Oct 09, 2012 Chris Tower rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have had these books on my shelf for almost a decade. The art is gorgeous. The story has its merits, but the fantasy epic does not well translate into graphic novel form. One benefit of the visual form is a ready map when the world is being discussed. Gods and spirits can be shown in a real visceral way. But the story begins with too much complexity in use of names and places and armies, and though this becomes clearer as one keeps reading, a new reader can easily be lost and give up, despite ...more
Peter
Jan 09, 2010 Peter rated it really liked it
Ack. Forgot to write a comment about the first volume of Artesia. Friggin' beautiful graphic novel. If you are familiar with Joseph Campbell's works about heroes and myth, you will enjoy how Smylie's heroine develops.

This is how I recommed reading his work. First, read the story straight through, enjoying the tale and the gorgeous art. Second, study the appendices to fill in the gaps about the world Smylie created; it is incredibly detailed. Finally, read the story once more; your understanding
...more
Jayda
Jun 08, 2016 Jayda rated it really liked it
4.3 Stars
Matt Brady
Aug 30, 2013 Matt Brady rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, read-in-2013
An entertaining high fantasy following Artesia, a concubine, priestess, witch and war-captain. The art is very detailed, meticulous when it comes to weapons and armour and vividly gruesome in scenes of battle. The world seems large and interesting, though we only see a small corner of it in this volume. Dialogue is a little wooden at times, very portentous and bordering on faux-Shakespeare.
Kurt
Jul 18, 2008 Kurt rated it liked it
Great art and a good story; all the hacking, slashing, spells and demonic forces you could ask for in a swords&sorcery (picture) book. I've been meaning to pick up this title for years and when I found it on sale I couldn't resist; I'm glad I didn't. A bit confusing with all the references to times and Gods past, but worth a read, regardless (for those who favor comics).
Ketsugami
Oct 12, 2011 Ketsugami rated it liked it
Good world design and nice detail for a fantasy comic, which are normally light on that sort of thing. Story looks interesting but progresses a bit slowly. I was turned off by the dialogue, which is in a very high-fantasy more-medieval-than-thou dialect that sounds a bit stilted to me; it's possible to do that sort of thing right, but a lot harder then it seems.
Melissa
My spouse is into comic books and because I am not the caped superhero type, got this for me to try. This is a graphic novel with great art. The non-primary characters and wars are a little bit difficult to keep track but the lead female character has very interesting and unique dimensions.
Melissa
My spouse is into comic books and because I am not the caped superhero type, got this for me to try. This is a graphic novel with great art. The non-primary characters and wars are a little bit difficult to keep track but the lead female character has very interesting and unique dimensions.
Sasha
Jan 09, 2014 Sasha marked it as to-read-unlimited
Shelves: graphic-novel
if this doesn't work out, try The Barrow - omnivoracious recommended
Katie
Jun 28, 2011 Katie rated it did not like it
Shelves: gnhpl
The artwork is visually appealing, but the story is poorly-written. I was also severely annoyed by the fact that all the soldiers had full armor except our busty heroine, who was wearing a chain mail bikini bottom.

Sorry, one star is all you're getting for this one.
Lady Entropy
Dec 24, 2012 Lady Entropy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Artesia is not my kind of book (medieval fantasy), but the backstory, and .... well the amazing world build deserves a five stars. I like the main character and the art, but the strength of this book is the amazing world build that seeps through the entire thing.
Matt
Oct 19, 2011 Matt rated it liked it
Given that this was awarded Graphic Novel of 2003 by Foreword Magazine, I was a little underwhelmed by this. The art was gorgeous but the story was sparse and felt a little disjointed.
David
David rated it it was amazing
Sep 21, 2016
Mark
Mark marked it as to-read
Sep 18, 2016
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While The Barrow marks his first published prose novel, Mark Smylie has worked as a writer, illustrator, editor, and publisher for over a decade.

His epic military fantasy comic book, Artesia, was first published by Sirius Entertainment in 1999, and then later by Archaia, a publishing company that he founded. He was nominated for the Russ Manning Award for Best Newcomer in 1999, and for an Eisner A
...more
More about Mark Smylie...

Other Books in the Series

Artesia (4 books)
  • Artesia Volume 2: Afield - The Second Book Of Dooms
  • Artesia Volume 3: Afire - The Third Book Of Dooms
  • Artesia Volume 4: Besieged - The Fourth Book of Dooms

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