By Leroy Douresseaux
February 20, 2009 - 14:15
|Luuna 1 cover is courtesy of barnesandnoble.com.|
Action/Fantasy; Rated “T” for “Teen”
TOKYOPOP is expanding outside its base of manga (Japanese comics), manhwa (Korean comics) and OEL manga (original English language manga) by offering English language editions of full-color graphic novels from around the globe and created by an international roster of writers, artists, and writer/artists. Originally published in France by MC Productions, Luuna is a graphic novel series by writer Didier Crisse and artist Nicolas Keramidas. Luuna tells the story of its title character, a Native American girl who embarks on a mystical journey.
The North American release of Luuna, Vol. 1 combines the contents of the original French editions of Luuna Vol. 1 (2002) and Vol. 2 (2003) as a two-chapter graphic novel. Luuna is a young woman who belongs to the Paumanoks, a mystic Native American tribe whose members can see and communicate with deities and nature spirits. Luuna’s coming of age ritual requires that she enter the sacred woods on her vision quest. There, she will meet Hohopath in the “Heart of the Forest,” where he will assign Luuna her totem – the animal incarnation of her inner-self.
What Luuna doesn’t know is that this particular night of her vision quest also belongs to Unkui, the Evil One, and since this is his night, he wants Luuna’s soul. Hohopath and Unkui strike an awful deal that has them sharing Luuna’s soul. She gets two totems: a white wolf that reflects her good side and a black one that represents the darkness that resides in all humanity. Luuna is determined not to let this awful situation stand, so she embarks on a quest to seek the spirits that can heal her. Unkui and his minions – a band of evil, blood-thirsty tribesmen – dog her every step.
THE LOWDOWN: For all its internal issues, TOKYOPOP has certainly published a number of titles that are not only excellent for young readers, but those young readers would also love reading them. Luuna is one of such books. Writer Didier Crisse and artist Nicolas Keramidas have come together to create a pastoral fantasy that recalls such Walt Disney animated feature films as Bambi, The Lion King, Pocahontas, and Mulan.
Crisse blends a pared down quest fantasy with elements of animal fables and sets it in the milieu of First Nation folklore and storytelling. Keramidas art is on par with the storytelling prowess of the best Disney films. As an artist, Keramidas appears to have an in depth knowledge skillful figure and anatomical drawing (of both human and animal). This allows him a deft touch at cartooning both to create expressive faces and body language and also to exaggerate characters for comedy and action scenes. It’s good stuff.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: This is a quality story for young readers. Although the format is a large size paperback (7¼ x 10), the cover stock is soft enough to allow a reader to roll Luuna as if it were a good old floppy comic book.