In the late 1990s, comic book publisher Devil’s Due obtained the license for the G.I.Joes property and helped reignite a corner of the comic book industry that had languished in preceding years. The adaptation of licensed properties for comic books is a burgeoning market that has created many winners and losers since. IDW Publishing’s has been one of the winner with a stable that includes major properties such as the Transformers and G.I. Joes. They’ve now added Dungeons and Dragons to their lineup. I can’t recall if there’s ever been a Dungeons and Dragons comic book before. I bet there has been at least one. What I do remember about Dungeons and Dragons is that it was quite a popular franchise with nerds and comic book geeks when I was in high school. Part of the appeal must have been the urban myths about those kids who played real life Dungeons and Dragons and if they had to die, the would die. I didn’t bother to check if it was indeed an urban myth, but that’s the kind of stuff that usually is.
IDW is trying its hand at publishing a new Dungeons and Dragons comic book. It seems like a match made in heavens, on paper. In theory, comic book geeks and nerds are interchangeable. Fantasy is a strong sub genre in comic books, with luminaries such as Conan The Barbarian, Prince valiant, Cerebus and Bone. With the revival of the Lords of the Ring in the mid 2000s, this series has enough visibility to make it on it’s own? Right. I’m not sure how well IDW Publishing will do with this new Dungeon and Dragon series, but they are at least trying. One thing missing, unlike other properties are specific characters that can be identified. Here, they used archetypes of characters. My closest recollection of anything Dungeons and Dragons is the Marvel Studios cartoon series from the 1980s. I’m a comic book geek but I never crossed over to Dungeons and Dragons. It was just too nerdy even for this uber comic book geek as a kid. Also, it’s not the same mindset. Dungeons and Dragons is a game after all.
The story is set up as something new that’s easy to follow. A new epic with lots of promises. I’m not sure I’ll be back for issue #2 though. The first faux pas is the mixing of genres. There’s a chick who transforms normal folks into zombies she can control. Zombies, that’s crossing a genre, or stacking all the bets on your side to make sure you still remain relevant. Sure, Rogers did not rely exclusively on the zombies in his story, but their presence here is not a good sign. My question is what is Dungeons and Dragons about? Why, as someone who’s possibly interested in reading this comic book, should I even check it out besides the novelty factor. I’ve read this comic book a month ago, and I could not even recall anything particular about any of the characters before I re-read the comic book. In fact, I had forgotten that I had read it already and had to review it.
It’s not a bad comic book at all, but I have no clue about I should care about this series. Why should I read Dungeon and Dragon when it’s filled with characters I’ve never heard about?
The artwork looks good and supports the fast moving tale. I can’t really complain here. But maybe something closer to Pasqual Ferry would evoke more of a fantasy world.