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The Wednesday Club’s Comic Picks: Wizards, Warriors, and Wyverns
The Wednesday ClubThe Wednesday Club

The Wednesday Club’s Comic Picks: Wizards, Warriors, and Wyverns

The Wednesday Club is Geek & Sundry’s weekly talk show chatting about all things comics. This week, hosts Amy Dallen, Matt Key, and Taliesin Jaffe talked swords and magic and more. That’s right, the hosts picked their favorite fantasy comic books in honor of the release of Vox Machina: Origins.

“Western fantasy specifically is this set structure of racial identifers — dwarf, elf, man, and their various outliers being pixie, hobbit, and otherwise. Stories are either set around dragons, wizards, and questing,” Taliesin said. “It’s a series of tropes. It’s kind of a little package collection of tropes that we have decided gets its own genre.”

Record of Lodoss War

If you’ve ever dreamed of a Critical Role animated series, the first episode of Japanese anime Record of Lodoss War is as close as it currently gets. “It was a D&D game — one of the early D&D games — in Japan, that actually got turned into a TV series where they took their campaign and made a novel of it,” Taliesin said. It later turned into a manga and anime adored by fans worldwide.

The TV series is the epitome of 1990s anime, but characters like Deedlit the elf and Parn the fighter are pure fantasy. “It’s a fascinating, 90s anime-style rendering of D&D tropes,” described Taliesin.

Note: The manga is currently out of print, but can be found used online.

(Central Park Media, Ryo Mizuno and Yoshihiko Ochi)

Red Sonja

Red Sonja may have gotten her start in the pages of Conan comics, but she evolved into a character that stands completely on her own in the hands of the brilliant writer Gail Simone. The She-Devil with a Sword had problematic beginnings, like her now trademark metal bikini, but she has since turned those into her own form of strength.

“I like [Red Sonja] a little more than Conan,” admitted Matt.

Taliesin agreed. “It has a little more of a magic sword and sorcery vibe than Conan,” he said. “In the Gail Simone run, she addresses some of those issues surprisingly well… The art figures out ways to make the costume interesting without making it leery.

I really like the book.”

(Dynamite Comics, Gail Simone and Walter Geovani)

ElfQuest

ElfQuest

ElfQuest is the story of Cutter, a wood elf chief, and his quest to find other elves in The World of Two Moons. Their world is also populated with humans, trolls, and more creatures familiar to fantasy fans, but in a setting that stands uniquely alone.

“It’s one of the absolutely legendary independent comics,” said Amy. “It’s been running for thirty years.”

“It’s a little bit Dark Crystal, a little bit Tolkien,” Taliesin said. “It’s got such a phenomenal energy that’s all its own.”

(Dark Horse Comics, Wendy and Richard Pini)

Steve Lichman

If you’ve ever wondered what the creatures inside a dungeon do when there are no heroes crawling around it, Steve Lichman is the irreverent answer. Critical Role Dungeon Master Matt Mercer has recommended the series to both Matt Key and Taliesin, and after a look at just the first few comics, it’s easy to see why.

“It starts off as high fantasy, beautiful artwork… all told from the perspective of the creatures in the dungeon when nothing is happening,” said Matt.

(Dave Rapoza Comics, Dave Rapoza and Dan Warren)

Nimona

nimona

Nimona is another refreshing take on the fantasy genre that started out as a web comic. The graphic novel asks the question, “Are the good guys really all that good?” Nimona, the lead character, is a shapeshifter who decides that being the sidekick to a villain is the life she wants to lead.

“It’s just special,” Amy said. “The book is dedicated to all the monster girls, which is just as special.”

(HarperCollins, Noelle Stevenson)

The Autumnlands

“It’s anthropomorphic animals living in a magical world, a medieval magical Renaissance world… and they used all the magic in the world to try to stop it,” described Matt. The comic reveals more about their universe and the history of the world as more of the story unfolds.

When they use the last of their power to summon their creator who originally endowed the world with magic, they are shocked to see… a human.

“The world is so well drawn out that by the time that character arrives, you find him very weird looking,” said Amy.

(Image Comics, Kurt Busiek and Benjamin Dewey)

Matt, Amy, and Taliesin also chatted briefly about books like Little Nemo in Slumberland, Bone, A Tale of SandPower of the Dark Crystal, Demon Knights, Birthright, and Green Valley.

Hang out on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel every Wednesday night to catch the next amazing episode of The Wednesday Club.

Featured Image: Geek & Sundry

Other Images: Dark Horse Comics and HarperCollins

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