Monday, April 30, 2012

Graphic Novel Review: Sinbad

I apologize for this taking longer than it has, but I started writing this two other times and either lost my connection and lost the post, or had to shut it down before it could be saved. So I'll try a third time...
 When I hear the name Sinbad, I think of two things- the 80's comedian for one, but mainly I think of swashbuckling adventures across the seven seas with witches, sorcerers, lost treasures and Harryhausen-esque monsters.
 The newest chapter in the Sinbad saga, Sinbad: the Legacy, is a release by Campfire Books, a graphic novel company that is based out of India and primarily uses writers from the US and artists from India. It's a formula that seems to be working in terms of quality stories.
 This Sinbad adventure is penned by North Carolina's own Dan Johnson (who will be at the Return of Mini-Con on June 15!) with art by Naresh Kumar (no relation to Harold and Kumar as far as I know!).
 I like it when someone takes an established character and doesn't change them but rather adds something to the character that makes them richer and more realized. Dan Johnson's story succeeds in this area as the context of the story gives the readers a Sinbad that isn't full of bravado and stands with his hands on his hips laughing at his enemies. Instead, this Sinbad is responsible, thoughtful, and prepared for different outcomes. Johnson delivers this Sinbad to us not because Johnson has a bland view of the famous sailor but because Sinbad has been tasked with teaching a young prince to grow up very quickly. Johnson gets the reader inside what is going on in Sinbad's head as a leader, as an adventurer and as a friend. He is still Sinbad, and he is just as cunning as ever- and the creatures are as abundant as ever. As an example, a king plans to bury the prince but Sinbad quickly jumps in saying it is the custom of his people for the servant to be buried with the royalty also. Once Sinbad and the prince are sealed in, Sinbad puts his wits to use to find the clues to lead them out of the tomb- while fighting a giant, human flesh-consuming rat!
 Kumar's art is good. It is not very complicated and focuses on the principle actions and characters in each panel. If I had to point out something I didn't like, it would be eyes on the figures. Everyone has something of a cartoonish element to their look, but the eyes reminded me of the ones on the opening sequence of Scooby Doo. But maybe that is nit-picking. Kumar renders the action very well, and his designs of the docks, ships, and building corridors are all spot-on.
 If you like the classic adventure characters, Sinbad:the Legacy will not disappoint! Pick it up for your personal library.

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