(Indie Crash Comics, 2014)
Writer and Creator – Deon Brown
Artist – Steve Myers
Colorist – Licca Kirk
Inker – Jeff Morrow
Letterer – Chris Chandler
The stories that we heard as children, and their many incarnations, are the ones that we treasure as adults. I recall hearing classic fairy tales, both through film and through by mother’s interpretations as she read to me, and I still find a bit of magic in those stories as I watch them with or read them to my own kids.
The story of Little Red Riding Hood is an ancient tale, its roots in the French fairy tale tradition, with the red cloak signifying all manner of things to those aristocrats who listened to the stories two hundred years ago at the behest of the king of France. But at the root of the story, the reason why its still resonates with kids today, is the battle between good and evil, old and young, the innocent and the tainted, that makes us cringe as the little girl tells the wolf about her ill grandmother, and raise our fist in triumph when the brave woodcutter flies through the door in the nick of time with his axe to cleave the wolf in half. (Sometimes grandma comes out of the belly; sometimes…well, not so much.) But because these stories are classics, writers of all genres, including comic books, constantly reinterpret them.
The Battle for Ozellberg is another such interpretation, following not only the fairy tale tradition but the recent comic tradition established mainly by Bill Willingham with his Fables series. With this book we have a pretty traditional telling, all of the major plot points are covered and there is a little additional embellishment to add to the overall story and make it possible to lengthen a tale that would normally end after one issue. Deon Brown take all of the classic themes in the original, the wolf, the girl and grandmother, the woodcutter, and tweaks them just a little to give a breath of fresh air, to make this three hundred year old tale just different enough to be engaging.
Steve Myers must be around my age, or was a huge fan of comics in the 90’s, because his style reminds me of one of my favorite, ill fated though it was, comics of that era. Remember the Cliffhanger series? Battlechasers? Ah yes, that poor, nine issue series that everyone wanted a little more of, Joe Madureira’s baby which, alas, didn’t make it past number nine. (Nine issues in four years seems a bit slow, but what do I know?) Myers style seems a lot like those drawings I loved then and still love now. Exaggerated feet, huge axes and foot-wide sword blades, these were all hallmarks of that book and I see shades of that here. There are also character design elements that seem familiar, in the way that Riding Hood looks, and the massive frame of the woodsman. It all feels like a glorious callback.
Reading The Battle for Ozellberg will not only feel like a callback to your childhood, but to your young adulthood as well. (As long as we’re of similar ages.) No matter though, the members of this small troupe of creators have both of those markets covered, they are able to put forth a high quality book that will have readers of all ages clamoring for a copy. The Battle for Ozellberg is worth a read, and if you can get your mom to do it for you, snuggle in and enjoy.
Please visit the comic’s WEB SITE for more info!
Brad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, who all put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.