Sunday, 10 December 2006

The colour of magic: Fantasy Realms

Fantasy Realms was always going to be a difficult proposition for me, I prefer the margins of genre fiction, the liminal spaces that erupt online. Well, there's no genre fusion or bells and whistles in the narrative here. I typically don't read textual fantasy (speculative fiction and magical realism is more my bag). I admit that at first glance this looks like an embarrassing webcomic transplant from all those horrid fantasy novels written by Welsh chainsmokers who are convinced they are the descendents of half-Elves from Lorien.

That is belied by the supremely delicious linework because the use of texture and colour is astounding. The pacing can be a little slow, the chapters are small but the background information is gradually becoming more apparent. The reader arrives in media res and your first inclination is to probably opt out of what looks like a childish RPG Zelda-lite mash-up but once you get past the first couple of chapters, I found something developing here that will stand apart due to the self-confidence of the creator.

Yes, the characters certainly look childish in a stunted mangaesque way and the story follows that sense of wonder to its logical conclusion. This strip is not a stickler for Errant Story style realism but within its boundaries the reader is given a definitive world, something most fantasy strips are unable to do, there's no trimmings steampunk - sexual inuendo - RPG - grue munches your toe style nod-nod-wink-wink - nada - nothing. This is just pure unfiltered genre fiction written as sequential art without a glitch. This is a serious long-term project and I applaud the Lore section for codifying information about this new vast world. A worthy (if somewhat overly sensible) addition to fantasy in the pixelsphere.

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