Showing posts with label Tommy Castillo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tommy Castillo. Show all posts


D&D comics history part 14 - In the Shadow of Dragons (K&C)

   After a decade of very rare production (10 D&D comics... not talking about this blog's posts here :P), WotC, which acquired TSR a few years ago and also became a subsidiary of Hasbro in 1999, well decided to promote their 3rd edition of D&D, gave the hand to Kenzer & Company to edit their new comics line from 2001. Kenzer & Co was specialized in publishing RPG materials as the Kingdoms of Kalamar (which will be later officially included in D&D 3rd) and the famous comic Knights of the Dinner Table. And so, in march 2001, is released the first issue of :

In the Shadow of Dragons

   The whole story will count 8 issues, called "parts" :
Part 1 : The Last of my Father (Mar. '01)
Part 2 : In the Belly of the Lone Heath (May '01)
Part 3 : Through the Darkness of Anasteo (July '01)
Part 4 : The Lies that Bind (Sep. '01)
Part 5 : Guardian of the Dragonhold (Nov. '01)
Part 6 : An Eclipse of Stolen Blood (Jan. '02)
Part 7 : Wrapped in Betrayal's Kiss (Mar. '02)
Part 8 : Where Strangers Once Stood... (May '02)

   And while it will be written all along by Jay Donovan, a bunch of artists will work on these : 
Hung Vinh Mac : Cover artist of parts 1 to 4
Tyler Walpole : Penciller/Letterer of parts 1,2,4 & 5
John Hahn : Penciller/Inker of part 6
Sam Wang : Ink Assists of part 6
Tommy Castillo : Penciller/Inker of parts 7 & 8, Cover artist of parts 5 to 8 
Andy Brase : Inker of parts 1,2,4 & 5
Jeff Mayer : Inker of part 3 p.1,3-6
Tony Moy : Penciller/Inker of part 3
Abby Moy : Letter of part 3
Chad Fidler : Colorist of part 1 & 2
Mike Estlick : Colorist of part 3
V. Shane Colclough : Colorist of part 4 p.1-21
Tom Martin : Colorist of part 4 p.22-24, Cover colorist of parts 5 to 8
Scott Kester : Colorist of parts 5 to 8

Part 3 (Art by T.Moy)                                        P.5 (Art by T.Walpole)

 P.6 (Art by J.Hahn)                                              P.8 (Art by T.Castillo)

   The art is pretty decent in its whole even if I have to say, knowing what the artist is capable of, I am a bit disappointed by Tyler Walpole's one, especially on the first issues. These ones are somehow laborious to read as for the long and kinda boring dialogues in the bubbles but also for the lack of humor. But little by little, the story is getting entertaining and the tone less serious. As well, on the visual aspect, the work of different artists made the whole getting into a more pleasant and dynamic reading as the story goes on. On another aspect, the lettering is sometimes not helping a runny reading... especially when using some "artistic" tiny fonts as at the beginning of part 6... °-°
   But in the end, for something starting a bit too classic and serious, we got a nice story here. It takes place in the Greyhawk campaign setting as well as the Kenzer & Co's productions that will follow and the Hammer Graphics' Vecna - Hand of the Revenant during the same period (2001-04). Obviously WotC was willing to maximize their promotion of the last version of its setting (Greyhawk will finally die in 2008 - tho some references to it -deities, races, classes- will be part of the 2014's 5th edition of the Player's Handbook...).

   The plot is about 3 great and somehow amazingly powerful blue dragons (Blackwing and his siblings Eclipse & Azzre) harassing the city of Rel Astra (cf map below) in order to reclaim a powerful artifact they call "The Last of My Father". The city, governed by Lord Drax - known as The Invulnerable (cf pict below) - will try to counter-attack but without any success. Willing to surrender and giving the dragons what they are seeking but having no clue of the whereabouts, a party is formed around a mage apprentice, Gifre, who will be sent on the roads to meet the powerful wizard master Ealadhach in Roland. According to Gifre and to what his former master, Landuwek, shared with him, the wizard master is said to have the knowledge and power to defeat dragons. To protect the young and unexperienced apprentice on his trek, Drax will command Evina, his best bodyguard, Lucien Cathal, a celebrated paladin and also Kiernan Ornarus, a convicted rogue to join the group of travellers. The team will be soon beefed up on its way to Roland by the coming of Roarn Stonehearth, a dwarven warrior, Verena Mornbringer, an elvish ranger and Sissel, a blind shapeshifter druid. They will all together cross the wild lands to do their best to avoid the destruction of Rel Astra by the angered wyrms. (More info on the Free Cities of Rel Astra, Roland & Ountsy here and there)

World of Oerth, western Flanaess - City of Rel Astra and its area (including City of Roland)

Lord Drax short description (Ivid the Undying adventure, TSR 1995)

   Note also that, as well as it occured on DC's series and in some IDW's later on, a few RPG material was added in this comic. At the end of part 3 we are granted with Lucien and Roarn's chara-sheets. When we would have waited for the rest of the team ones, sadly and strangely it will be only this. Well, better than nothing I suppose heh...

Lucien & Roarn characters sheets

   With this series and the upcoming ones, Kenzer and Company settled the new D&D comics era with a relative success at that time but surely laying the foundation of a solid renewal other publishers, as DDP and IDW, will lean on in the years to come.

   The series will have, in 2003, a sequel (with no direct link with the scenario here) featuring some of the heroes we met here, entitled Where Shadows Fall. (also written by Jay Donovan but with a different team of artists)