Markley’s Fevered Brain: Life is a Fantasy

Wayne Markley

Wayne Markley


by Wayne Markley

As a general rule, I am not a big fan of fantasy material. I do not shun it completely as I love Game of Thrones (the TV version) and let’s be honest, all superhero comics are fantasy in one form or another. But in terms of prose or even comics, traditional fantasy; elves, magic, etc.; I do not get into except for these graphic novels that once again prove how foolish I am when I dismiss a genre out of hand. These are a handful of, no doubt, many great traditional fantasy graphic novels. These three have been recommended to me and I took the time to read them and discovered I was being a snob. So, armed with my new knowledge, I am going to share my thoughts on these books. Plus there is a quick nod to the newest book by my favorite comic book author.

The Quest of Ewilan

The Quest of Ewilan


Quest of  Ewilan Vol.1: From One World to Another is based on the novels by Pierre Bottero and is written by written by Lylian with art by Baldetti. This is the first of a series of French graphic novels that have been translated into English and published by IDW under their EuroComics label. It is a full color, hardcover book and it features some of the most beautiful colors I have ever seen. The colors add so much and are so much of the story I cannot even put it into words. The story is about a 13 year old girl who travels to a parallel dimension where she is an imaginate (a very powerful and special person with abilities including magic and visions). Her name is Camille on Earth but in this alternative world, her name is Ewilan. This new world is called Gwendalavir and it is filled with magic. Her parents were from Gwendalavir and were also magicians. She is joined on this adventure by her school friend Salim, a boy who likes to pretend he is much tougher than he is, a pair of young and strapping knights, and an old man on a quest to find and save Ewilan’s parents. This first volume starts as a fairly ordinary tale set in a typical school but swiftly shifts gears into a rip roaring adventure. It explains enough to keep you interested but it leaves a lot of question as to why and how she landed on Earth in the first place and how she goes from one world to another. While a lot of the ideas here are common to fantasy stories, the art (and coloring) raise this book far above the common story of this type. I was mesmerized as I turned from page to page just waiting to see what was going to happen next. This book is a total package and I cannot not wait for the next volume.

Amulet Vol. 8: Supernova

Amulet Vol. 8: Supernova


Amulet Vol. 8: Supernova is the newest chapter in this wonderful epic by Kazu Kibuishi. While it has been three years since volume seven came out, he does not miss a beat as the story opens with a kick-ass start and does not stop till the last page. This volume focuses on Emily’s little brother as he takes center stage as both a soldier and a leader. As with his sister, he is hell bent on saving his family, in spite of his mother’s concern. There is a great, and long, chase scene on bicycles, which I must admit I have never seen in a comic book before. Not to be left out, Emily has even greater power now as she has become the Phoenix and this plays a vital part of the story as it is racing to its conclusion. The end is coming as this volume sets up volume nine which will be the end of this series. I will admit I will be sad to see this series end as it always provides a fun ride with beautiful art and a complex story. While this book is also filled with dragons, magic, princes, and other stuff of traditional fantasy, it is almost a complete opposite of Quest of the Ewilan. The set ups are similar but the execution is worlds apart, even though both are very well done in different ways. Part of the differences lie in that Kazu Kibuishi uses a ton of computer generated effects and tricks with his book which, while beautiful, look very different than the pencil and ink work you will find in Quest of Ewilan. I would note that Amulet, along with Bone, are the two bestselling books to young teen readers at the Westfield retail store I work at. I constantly recommend Amulet to parents for their younger reader (10 and up) and particularly for girls, and everyone has loved it and come back for the rest of the series. But to be honest, it is a great read for any age, and even for non-fantasy fans like me. Check it out. It is full color and published by Scholastic.

Wayward Vol. 1

Wayward Vol. 1


Wayward is an ongoing title by Image Comics and is written by Jim Zub (Zubkavich) and drawn by Steven Cummings. It has been running for three years now and it is a fascinating tale of a teen girl named Rori Lane who moves to Japan only to find she comes from a long line of “special” people who are in an ancient battle with demons and Leprechauns. The story goes all over the place from Japan to Ireland and all places in between. There are plenty of twists and turns that keep the story interesting, if not confusing at times, but the art keeps me coming back. It is a beautiful book filed with fast paced action. My one recommendation would be to read the collections (there are five trades so far with a sixth one coming this Christmas, as well as two oversized hardcover books) as the story is so complex at times, reading the single comics, with the breaks they take, can make it hard to follow. Overall though this is another fantasy book that drew me in because of the art but the story was so good I kept coming back. This one, unlike the first two, is for mature readers due to graphic violence at time.

My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies

My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies


A brief diversion from my discussions on fantasy comics to make a quick mention of a new graphic novel that just came out by perhaps, my favorite writer currently doing comics, Ed Brubaker. His newest book is with his long time collaborator Sean Phillips and it is a crime story wrapped in a love story with the cloud of drugs. It is called My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies. It is about two young people who meet in a rehab facility for drug use and discover that they have a lot in common aside from the drug use. It is a brilliant story that is very well told using the best of Brubaker’s storytelling tricks. I am not going to elaborate and give anything away as it would be too easy to do by saying more than that. I thought the ending was a bit clichéd, but it was really the only way for the story to wrap up. I would highly recommended this standalone graphic novel. It is a full color hardcover from Image Comics.

This wraps up my toe tipping into the worlds of fantasy in graphic format. I obviously loved these books but I am sure there are tons of books out there that I have overlooked over the years that are just as good. I would like you to tell me what they are! I can be reached at MFBWAY@AOL.COM or on Facebook at Wayne Markley. All of the thoughts expressed here are strictly mine and do not reflect the thoughts or opinions of Westfield Comics or their employees. Now please start sending me recommendations. And as always…

Thank you.

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