Hey SPBMers, so I was asked today if I could recommend some fantasy comics/graphic novels for someone for Christmas. After spending a stupid amount of time mulling it over I came up with a not-so-short list. Then I though "I know, I'll post the list on the blog that way I won't feel like a complete nutcakeface for spending way too much time answering a simple question!" I even made a title banner, look....
Originally serialised in the DFC comic this gorgeous story of stone-age myths and superstitions was collected complete as a large format hardcover. Breathtakingly beautiful and quite scary, I'd highly recommend this for all ages with the exception of very young children.
Imagine a trio of Loony Tunes characters caught up in The Lord Of The Rings and you'll have some idea of what Bone is like - though no idea how brilliant it is. Funny, charming, uncynical, epic, fun. Available in several formats including a massive complete-in-one doorstop.
Slaine: Warrior's Dawn
Conceived as an antidote to the testosteronal tradition of Conan The Barbarian this satirical Celtic fantasy is a collection of the earliest stories that ran in 2000AD. Superb B&W art especially McMahon who gave the strip a primitive sinewy style unlike anyone else.
Slaine: The Horned God
Pat Mills, Simon Bisley
A few years later burgeoning superstar artist Simon Bisley signed on as Slaine artist for what was to prove to be Slaine's most popular story. Visually much closer to the hyper-muscularised Conan/Frank Frazetta archetype the strip still maintained its sarcastic attitude.
A Princess Of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ian Edginton, INJ Culbard
The seminal pulp classic has been adapted to comics many times over the years, but this by far the classiest and most faithful. Simultaneously a swashbuckling, otherworldly fantasy and a genuinely engaging romance.
Conan: The Frost Giant's Daughter
Another quality adaptation of a sword and sorcery pulp classic. I've never really been a huge fan of Conan to be honest but this really won me over. This was the first of many Conan books from Dark Horse, both adaptations of Howard's stories and original tales.
Alan Grant, Arthur Ranson
Another 2000AD serial, this beautiful paperback collects all three volumes complete in one book. This sombre, nightmarish fantasy is stunningly illustrated by Arthur Ranson.
Requiem: Vampire Knight
Pat Mills, Olivier Letroit
Created by Pat Mills for the European market, this Hellbound genre-blending adult fantasy is dark, horrific and frequently sadomasochistic, but always has Mills' underlining humour. Ledroit's art is amongst the most brain-meltingly fantabulous you're ever likely to inflict your eyeballs on. Each of the five (to date) UK editions contains two of the European albums. Which is nice.
Like Bone this is another all-ages fantasy, beautifully illustrated, but in a more realistic non-anthropomorphised style. Not remotely as silly as you might imagine, but thoroughly charming and engaging. Two lush hardcover volumes to date and several spin-off series.
Wendy Pini, Richard Pini
A genuine indie classic this epic series has graced several publishers over the years, but is currently all available to read online for free!
Jean Van Hamme, Grzegorz Rosiński
This highly esteemed, hugely popular and long-running (33 volumes to date) series from Belgium combines a multitude of myths and legends. Currently being published in English by Cinebook.
Kingdom Of The Wicked
Ian Edginton, D'Israeli
This dark, psychological graphic novel involves a bestselling children's author who finds himself, as an adult, suffering black-outs and awakening in the fantasy world he imagined as a child - except it is now a brutal, war-torn place. Any time Edginton & D'Israeli team up you know its going to be good and this is no exception.
I picked up the first volume of this Korean series on the spur of the moment, knowing nothing about it, and its absolutely blew me away. The art is jaw-droppingly good and the story whips along like lightning. If you like your fantasy epics full of skull-splitting action then this 9-volume series is for you.
JRR Tolkien, David Wenzel
This needs no introduction I'm sure and this is a lush, lovely adaptation by Dave Wenzel.
Kurt Busiek, Carlos Pacheco
The First World War brought catastrophic advancements in warfare technology - the machine gun, the fighter plane, tanks, mustard gas - but imagine if WWI had been fought instead using magic and dragons and other mythical beasts. This is the premise of Arrowsmith, an imaginative, genre-blending, brilliantly illustrated comic.
These two self-published comics from Becky Cloonan are surely so stranger to faithful SPBMers, we rave on about these brilliant medieval horror tales often enough, and we will continue to do so until every last one of you have read them!
Right, that's me spent - do you have any fantasy comics you'd recommend? Drop us a line via carrier roc or the usual methods...