It’s always great when some of our favourite small press creators come together – especially when it’s a pairing your never would have thought about putting together, but who make perfect sense once they team up! And this is a perfect example of that.
ArcWorld: Tales from the Journal sees Samurai Slasher/The Kill Screen creator Mike Garley join forces with Gateway City‘s Russell Mark Olson for this gloriously fun fantasy adventure comic, which is produced in support of a table top game. Although we had our concerns about a comic based on a game, last year’s Crayta comics have helped relieve some of the initial adaptation angst, and when you consider the talent of the creatives involved in this then we should have know it would be a really great read.
Garley has crafted a really enjoyable tale of a goofy wizard, a talking book and a band of rag tag elves and halflings who take him on a mission to find a mysterious castle. At it’s basic level it is classic fantasy in the vein of Tolkien or even Ian Livingstone’s Fighting Fantasy books. Garley doesn’t try too hard to reinvent the wheel here and the characters are all familiar archetypes, but it is the tone he gives the story which is its real strength. It feels almost ‘all ages’- but not in a bad way – in that it isn’t trying to be too gritty or grungey, it’s just a really fun read (and there needs to be more of that in comics!)
Meanwhile in the art department, Olson has put his vintage brush pens to one side and has created a really polished variant on his brilliant style. It reminded us a lot of Gav Mitchell’s work in Trolltooth Wars (as well as his Samurai Slasher work with Mike), but with a slightly softer tone to it. (i.e. less scary orcs!) Add to this some fantastic lettering from Garley regular Mike Stock and it makes for a really fun book.
For fans of indie comics, it’s really fun mix of great characters and weird and wonderful locations. And for gaming fans you can augment the experience with figures from the comic, which are available as part of the Kickstarter. However, for this comic fan, if the Arcworlde game is half as enjoyable as this book then sign us up for a quest!