Thursday, July 25, 2013

Devin Kraft's Dragon Slayer Vol. 1

I received my Kickstarter edition of Dragon Slayer a few weeks ago and have read it, digested it, and it has nourished me.

I have to admit, I was skeptical. It's easy to affirm Devin Kraft's bona fides as a good artist. But, I'm usually skeptical of artists, especially good ones, who profess to be writers, too (A stereotype I picked up from the 90's era.) I guess it's time to put that stereotype to rest. Dragon Slayer is has the potential to be one of the better written comics from this year.

Of course, that's based on just the first issue. But, it's a promising first issue.

The art is on point, which one can put together from a glance. At times he mixes in a more symbolic approach, such as the tears of the dragon, or (name)'s body when he shoots the dragon's tears, that reminds me of graffiti or hieroglyphics. This allows the story to play with the mind's eye that simultaneously elevates and grounds "Dragon Slayer's" fantasy world.
Kraft included some early sketches of Diel in the back of the comic showing early versions of the character. I'm glad he went with the design he did. It allows him to walk that line between savage and civilized. He's at home in the wild, among the beasts, but not alienated from man and his ways. I know this about Diel because his behavior throughout the story betrays as much.

This comic takes well advantage of the fact that the writing and art come from the same brain. The characters act off one another tangibly, and the backgrounds and foregrounds in the panels support each other. I've rarely seen such a successful scene as the one where King Aldebrand backs down a vengeful soldier armed with nothing but gravitas and patriotism. Frankly, I was a little shocked. Well done.

A the end of the book, we get a glimpse of some of the horrifying magic that exists in "Dragon Slayer's" world. The timing of this encounter made it a pleasant surprise.

It occurs to me, there's a mystery inside the head of Diel. Aldebrand, the dragon and Diel are all after revenge. Aldebrand and the dragon want revenge on each other, but Diel hasn't made it clear to the reader which one he's hunting: the dragon, or the king.

Can't wait to find out.

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