So, I’m in the process of moving all my academic books to a bookshelf (looks like it actually be a bookshelf and a half or perhaps two bookshelves total) with me as I work on my degree. However, this leaves me with a fairly large gap of three to four shelves that I probably should fill. I already have my graphic novels (& comic books) on my main bookcase, but I’ve decided to reread my graphic novels (& comics) and place them on those free shelves. I have several fairly large graphic novels that don’t fit on the shelf with the other graphic novels on my main bookcase, but this secondary bookcase has more than enough room for them. If I can remember, I will try to take a picture at the end of the project and post it here.
DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS: SHADOWPLAGUE
This is the first of a “new” series of graphic novels with original characters in the Dungeons and Dragons universe. I say new because this was tried in the late 80s/early 90s with a different group of characters written by Jeff Grubb, a prolific writer of D&D novelizations of the time. This book is written by Jim Rogers and is full of post Lord of the Rings (Peter Jackson) adventure/banter. While not a comedy, Rogers does the “witty banter” so often found in comics and comic book movies that irked my late creative writing professor, Ken Smith when I tried to present stories in his fiction class with this same type of banter. For Ken, the banter trivialized the drama and lowered the emotional stakes for the characters. His argument (loosely speaking) was that if the characters are joking around during a life-or-death situation, then we get the feeling that the characters aren’t really in any danger. I can plainly see that here as I didn’t get the sense that any of the characters (protagonists) were any in real danger, per se.
This sounds like I don’t like the story and that’s not true–I do like the book, but this is a fun, rip-roaring comic book adventure, but it doesn’t have a sense that the characters are ever really in jeopardy. This book introduces and follows a team of intrepid adventurers of the mostly standard races (Human, Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, and newcomer race, Tiefling) as they go through various adventures to discover the secret of the Shadowplague, a magical plague that turns ordinary people into zombies. Abundant fight scenes, magic, and characters who all display a penchant for witty banter and sometimes painful backstories make this a fun and interesting story.
I did not happen to buy the other graphic novels that make up the rest of this series, but you can bet that I’ll definitely try to grab them as time and money allow. The cover price of 24.99 is a bit steep for the product. It is hardcover, but still it is really only worth about 14.99 to 17.99. If I can find it for under 9.99, then I’ll definitely pull the trigger. The problem is, the last I checked, it had gone out of print and Amazon 3rd party “scalpers” had driven the cost to above $30 dollars. Sad days, indeed. This is a fun little series that I wouldn’t mind getting a complete collection for myself–but if the remaining volumes stay out of reach, then this one volume will have to suffice, witty banter and all.