These two volumes of Forgotten Realms - The Forbidden Sands of Anauroch are like some UFOs in the D&D comics' sky... and for more than one reason...
They have been released in 2000, under the agreement of WOTC, by 21st Century Comics. (Trademark of 21st century games, an italian company that published the famous miniature versions of AD&D rules and accessories books)
It should have been a 6 issues serie but only the first two volumes were ever published.
These are hard-covers and mesure 24,5 x 16,5 cm. (and dun ask for inch ! :P)
Script by Alessandro Zeminian and Andrea Verardi.
Art (part 1) by Isabella Dalla Vecchia and Michele Rizzardi
Art (part 2) by Sonia Bernabei and Tatiana Mavaracchio
AND translation by Lucy Lenzi (p.1) and Margherita Monti (p.2)
I share the translators infos because I don t get how WOTC allowed the publishing of these books with such a pathetic level of english. I mean I have no idea on how good was the original script in italian but the render in english let you think it has been translated by some italian high-school student. It s almost correct grammatically tho but... heh... well... read it and make your own opinion. XD
The main surprising thing is the graphic style used... it s completely inspired by japanese manga. But italian-made manga.
We have had lots of european artists that imitated the manga-style and tried to put their own graphic culture in it this last decade... most often with poor success. Imo, it s the case here. It s not that awful, but you can see it s just a pale copy of japanese comics.
And if the artists are different in the 2 volumes, I can hardly decide which one has the best graphics...
Anyway, it was a deliberate and risky choice of the authors and well... all know what to expect when ya start gambling heh... :P
Concerning the story, first point is that it has never been finished... which means it could have turned excellent...or also gone nowhere...
Plot takes place in Anauroch, the huge desert of the Forgotten Realms and we are following a bunch of good (!) thieves and some nomads running after (or the inverse) the sexy chaotic neutral lvl.10 mage bitch Ce'Nedra... whose existence seems to be dedicated in creating shitstorms...
If there weren t some allusions to the Realms' deities and also the characters and monsters' succint descriptive sheets at the end of each volume (only stats on some blur chara sketch, no background heh...), we would have no idea that it s based on Forgotten Realms license.
Ah ! On other hand, it is obviously RPG based... Very like there were players behind the characters explaining to the DM (and rest of the party) all the actions they re doing...and that, step by step...
|"Let me roll for traps..."|
And well, concerning the environment, imo, it s more Al Qadim inspired than F.R.
It also really reminds me of the 13th issue of "Sorcerian", 1991 manga published by Dragon Comics. (It was more Ancient Egypt-inspired tho...)
In conclusion, I feel a bit dazed. It s original (almost conceptual XD), it could have been great, lots of ideas, and you can feel the passion and dedication put into its creation but so many mistakes done, unfinished... In the end it s a fail.
Still, I dun regret to have that strange "experiment" on my shelves; worse D&D comics exist...