Perhaps best known for his work turning Marvel's X-Men into a super-franchise through the 70s and 80s and into the 90s, writer Chris Claremont collaboPerhaps best known for his work turning Marvel's X-Men into a super-franchise through the 70s and 80s and into the 90s, writer Chris Claremont collaborates with artist John Bolton on this medieval fantasy about a plot to expel the Norman invaders from England using magic. Claremont weaves an intriguing, twisting tale of Jamie Dunrieth, an exiled knight returned to England. The Queen sends Jamie on a mission to investigate an old friend, who may be plotting to overthrow the crown, and worse, may be using magic to do it. Along the way, we meet faeries, dragons, and other magical creatures, and get a guest appearance by Robin Hood.
In recent years, Claremont has garnered a reputation as a wordy writer, but this overlooks the role his writing actually plays. While he gives us a great deal of dialogue and insight into the characters, the writing never duplicates what the art is showing us. A Chris Claremont script, at its best, works in partnership with the art, not telling us what the art can show us, but not putting the artist in the position of carrying most of the story. The writing communicates information the art can't. Compared to many modern writers and comics, this makes for a denser read, but also a very rewarding one.
John Bolton's art is as beautiful and detailed as his storytelling is clear. To me, his work here is a bit reminiscent of Hal Foster's Prince Valiant, in terms of detail and a classic look. He and Claremont have always been excellent collaborators, and this is another great example. While his decades of work on the X-Men are chock full of Claremont's creations, it's a shame that he only produced a handful of comics and books that are wholly his own creation, instead of part of a larger comic book superhero universe. This is a great self-contained story, with unexpected twists that keep the reader guessing as to the outcome, and doesn't have a safe resolution that preserves some greater franchise. As a self-contained graphic novel, this is fantastic, and it's great that it's back in print....more
Jim Henson was an undeniable genius. While it's a genuine tragedy that he is no longer with is, it's great to get to experience previously unseen workJim Henson was an undeniable genius. While it's a genuine tragedy that he is no longer with is, it's great to get to experience previously unseen work from him, in the form of new graphic novels like this one. Roger Langridge (no stranger to translating Jim Henson's creations to the comics page) works his usual magic here. His scripting and art accomplish in comics what Henson did with his puppets: he brings a warmth and humanity as well as great senses of both drama and humor to non-living representations of living beings. This book feels very true to its late 60s/early 70s roots as a TV special, and in tone sits very comfortably next to works like Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas. As with that special, music plays a large role in this story, and while comics are a silent medium, Langridge does a great job creating the sense of sound and rhythm on the page. I only wish this came with a soundtrack CD! Highly recommended to fans of Jim Henson's work, to fans of comics, and to fans of well-told, whimsical holiday specials....more
Stan Sakai is a consummate comics creator, and this collection represents stories spanning his entire career. While these mostly comedic and light advStan Sakai is a consummate comics creator, and this collection represents stories spanning his entire career. While these mostly comedic and light adventure short stories demonstrate Sakai's fantastic art and storytelling skills, as well as perfect comic timing, they lack the more dramatic and introspective moments found in his major work, Usagi Yojimbo, his decades-long tale of a samurai rabbit. However, while this might be a lighter work, it is still a very entertaining read, and will appeal to fans of Usagi Yojimbo as well as fans of just fun comics. The only really frustrating part is reading about Sakai's plans for a huge Nilson Groundthumper epic tale (in which Usagi would have played a supporting role). The Nilson Grounthumper stories we have are fun, but it's a shame--due to Sakai's decision to set the character aside in favor of Usagi--we will never see what sounds like it could have been a really interesting epic....more
I love William Joyce’s Guardians of Childhood series. The picture books, the novels, the movie… they’re all a lot of fun. I’m sad that the movie—whichI love William Joyce’s Guardians of Childhood series. The picture books, the novels, the movie… they’re all a lot of fun. I’m sad that the movie—which is really good—didn’t seem to get much attention, and I’m sad that it appears that the next novel looks like it’s the last one. Still, they’re all quick enough reads that I can go back and read them all over again.
This latest novel brings the character of Sanderson Mansnoozie, the Sandman (geddit?) into the fray, after having had his origin told in a picture book. While each book in the series builds from the last, this one is very much an installment in a serialized tale. Following the capture of young Katherine in the previous volume, the Guardians search for their friend. Along the way, we learn more about the evil Pitch, his daughter, Mother Nature, and we see the Guardians begin to set things up for what may be the final battle.
As with previous books in the series, I really enjoy the mythology Joyce is building. It’s an epic adventure featuring Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and Mother Goose, but it neither feels silly nor overly serious. The books have the tone of an oral folktale, one that has been told again and again over generations. And yet, they also feel focused and detailed. While this time around, we don’t get too much insight into most of the characters, we do learn a great deal about Pitch, Sandman, and Nightlight.
Unfortunately, it felt as if this volume had fewer illustrations than previous ones. I really enjoy Joyce’s artwork, so that was a shame. Also, this feels less like a complete installment than setup for what will come next. Having said that, the background information this book provides more than makes up for that. And since I am totally enjoying the series as a whole, I’m okay with installments that expect me to read what came before and what will come next....more
Collecting the first six micro-series issues, each one focusing on one of the "Mane Six" lead characters from the popular TV series and toy line, thisCollecting the first six micro-series issues, each one focusing on one of the "Mane Six" lead characters from the popular TV series and toy line, this was a lot of fun. While all very much in keeping with the tone and style of the show, each story--written and drawn by different creative teams--had its own distinctive voice and feel. Similarly, each character had a story appropriate to their personalities, giving us a range of tales from action-adventure (Rainbow Dash), character drama (Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, and Applejack), and humor (Pinkie Pie and, arguably, Fluttershy). IDW and Hasbro get points from me for allowing so much individual expression to show through a licensed comic, and not forcing creators into a cookie-cutter house style. Lots of fun for folks already familiar with the series....more