This month we’re diving head first into the world of elves and goblins, gifted swords and enchanted warrior queens. As always with us, the selections are from places a bit different from your usual settings, but that’s what makes each of them such rare and wonderful finds.
Those who don’t “get it” often think that fantasy (and science fiction) is purely about escape, but we’ve never found that to be true. To us, the more fantastic the world, the sharper the lens on all the things that define our humanity and the world we choose to create. Fantasy is for those who aren’t afraid to look inside the mirror, to go deep into the forest of imagination and come out inspired, delighted, challenged — changed. Sometimes we need the fantastic to show us just how extraordinary the ordinary can be if you look carefully enough.
We hope this month’s selections can do that for you.
All Indie. All Awesome.
Danny and The Wild Bunch
Written and Directed by Robert Rugan
Ok, so this is not high-fantasy. In fact, it’s a bit twisted, but as a writer, I could not resist this recommendation. For anyone wondering what it’s really like to be a writer, this fantasy nightmare is for you. The production in this film is so real, so chilling that you will come to understand (as all writers do) why we are secretly all afraid of our characters. It’s a brave business, picking up your pen to spin a yarn. A brave business indeed. If a writer you know goes missing, check the edits first, then call 911…
Writer – Roye Okupe
Penciler – Chima Kalu
Inker – Chima Kalu
Colorist – Raphael Kazeem
Cover Artist – Godwin Akpan
Warrior Queen Malika has reunited her country and now faces court intrigue, as well as opposition from the east, as leaders from other empires search for magical swords in a bid for ultimate power. Having had a chance to speak with creator Roye Okupe at various conventions, he’s told me that Malika is a cornerstone of his comic line, and I can see why. With a rich cast of characters, tight plot and energetic artwork, you’re bound to be dazzled. And on May 5th if you go to Free Comicbook Day and find your local comic shop, Malika will be one of the books available that day. To learn more about the creator and his work, visit https://youneekstudios.com/.
Writer – Dedren Snead
Artist – Timothy Geathers
Colorist – Omi Remalante
Letters and Layouts – Saida Temofonte
Cover Artist – Wellington Nommo
For me, high fantasy needs a strong pantheon for the heroes to play off of, and Sorghum and Spear gives us the origins of a new mythology inspired by African culture and centered around powerful women like Namazzi, women whose epic journey to save their realm sets off a powerful adventure. This was another great find from Black Comic Book Fest and I’ll be looking for the Green County Creative at more cons. To learn more about their creative vision, visit them at https://www.sorghumandspear.com.
Writers – Deepak Chopra, Shamik Dasgupta, & Shekhar Kapur
Artist – Abhishek Singh; Cover Art – Alex Ross
In a post-apocalyptic kingdom, two princes, Rama and Lakshman, must fight for the forces of light against the evil of Ravan, ruler of Nark. A beautiful, lush book, Ramayan is a mashup of Star Wars and Game of Thrones, with the classic hero’s journey as the royal brothers must learn how to become the warriors their people need to win. Read Book I in the adventure here.
Story – Wendy & Richard Pini
Art – Wendy Pini
For my last pick, I’m going to go digging in the crates and pull out my tattered copies of Elfquest. For close to 40 years this title has moved with the Pini’s from publisher to publisher; they might be the longest-running creative team in comics! My editions are the 1981 collected versions in color (the original run was black and white) and they’ve held up incredibly well over the years. If you aren’t familiar with this book, it’s the story of Cutter and his clan/pack of elves as they Quest for other elves and humans. Filled with action, suspense, wolf riding and a humor that is warm and endearing for all ages, it’s a wonder this hasn’t been made into an animated series.
I hope these selections help you find your sword or bow to join these fantastical journeys!