Tag Archives: Fantasy Graphic Novels

The Dreaming City

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Dreaming City [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Julien Blondel, Jean-Luc Cano, and Julien Telo, foreword by Jean-Pierre Dionnet, vol 4 of the Elric series.

Blondel Cano Telo The Dreaming City Elric

This newly-released (in English) fourth volume completes the “first cycle” of Julien Blondel’s bandes dessinées adaptation of Michael Moorcock’s Elric stories. Blondel takes a lot of liberties with the original texts–something on the level of a typical cinematic adaptation of a novel–but his choices are generally very good and have reportedly met with Moorcock’s own approval. One of the biggest changes was introduced at the end of the third volume and is central to this one. . . . . . . . [hover over to reveal spoilers] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I like the gloomy, shadow-heavy art by Telo in this book, but some of the compositions are hard to “read” in narrative terms, especially during the climactic confrontation among Elric, Cymoril, and Yrkoon. In some panels for example, I didn’t know which of the rune-swords is being shown: is that Stormbringer or Mournblade? These stumbles “work” impressionistically, reflecting Elric’s own confusion, but they are still a little frustrating for the reader.

The foreword by Jean-Pierre Dionnet (co-founder of Métal hurlant, who asks that you read his essay after The Dreaming City to which it is prefaced) is the least of these in the series, but like the others it contains some piquant autobiographical reflections and musings on international culture and the role of fantasy. It does include one amusing double-translation through French: the Moorcock novel “Here’s the Man” (i.e. Behold the Man, which is the biblical ecce homo).

The claim to have finished a cycle of the larger saga is a fair one here. Most of the story threads have been tied off, if not ruthlessly cut and burned, by this point. The issuance of these volumes has been at a pretty leisurely pace, and I hope that they continue without an even longer intermission than the ones before.

Scourge of the Gods

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Scourge of the Gods, Volume 1 [Amazon, Abebooks, Local Library] by Valérie Mangin, Aleksa Gajić.

Mangin Gajic Sourge of the Gods

Set in a galactic neo-antiquity of Romans and Huns, the plot of this space opera is thick with intrigue. The painted artwork by Serbian artist Aleksa Gajic is gorgeous in its depictions of planetary vistas, and engaging in its character-level events. There is no third-person verbal narration, which suits my tastes, even if it makes the action a little harder to follow at points.

My copy of the book is a glossy, full-color hardcover, reproducing the first three issues of the original French comic in English translation from the Marvel Comics Soleil imprint. I only wish the page size were a little larger to be able to better appreciate the details of the art. The story reaches a point of crucial revelation at the end of this volume, but it certainly calls out for its sequel in order to reach a full resolution.

Crown of Horns

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Bone: Crown of Horns [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Jeff Smith, book 9 of the Bone series.

Smith Bone Crown of Thorns

The final volume of the Bone series doesn’t have many surprises. All of the plots that were set up in the earlier numbers play out in a way that seems pretty inevitable, if not outright predictable. There are a few jokes, and lots of chasing and fighting. Comeuppances and rewards (including a hero’s burial) are distributed according to the characters’ merits established before.

I had been holding out for some exciting backstory on Ted the bug, but I was disappointed there. Maybe it’s in one of the prequel supplements: Rose or Stupid Stupid Rat Tails.

Treasure Hunters

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Bone: Treasure Hunters [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Jeff Smith, book 8 of the Bone series.

Smith Bone Treasure Hunters

Treasure Hunters is really only readable as a serial installment of Bone, but it is a pretty good one, centered on intrigue in the royal city of Atheia. It ends with a gargantuan cliffhanger.