A Typical Fantasy Story

Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur's Gate Volume 1 - Max Dunbar, Jim Zubkavich


Well, I am currently sitting in economy class about an hour away from Melbourne airport, on the final leg of a rather exhausting trek. Even though I have spent most of the last seven hours in some sort of daze while my body clock tries to catch up with Australian Eastern Standard time (and the fact that I have spent the last 28 hours either in an airport, or in the air – though in reality we left London Thursday morning and will arrive in Melbourne Friday evening, which makes it around 36 hours, though eight of those hours are technically missing hours – then again we did gain them on the way over, if it wasn't for the fact that six of those eight hours involved the plane flying up, dumping all of its fuel, flying back down, and then forcing us to change planes).


Anyway, I still had this one graphic novel to read, and fortunately in between snippets of sleep (I am too stingy to pay for anything more than economy class), I did manage to read it, not that it was a huge story. In fact it was just your basic fantasy novel in comic book form – a lone elf comes to the city and stumbles upon a dragon cult, and in the end they fight, and kill, a dragon. Okay, maybe that was a bit of a spoiler, but honesty, what to you expect from a fantasy story? Isn't that what happens in The Hobbit? The difference is that this story is done in comic book form (though I'm sure there is a comic book version of the Hobbit floating around somewhere).


One thing that I noticed though was something that C.S. Lewis touched on in the previous book that I read: Of This and Other Worlds: the idea of why the comic book is loathed so much as a form of literature. His suggestion is that it is loathed simply because it mixes two forms of art, and both of them tend to be pretty bad. Not only do you have what is in effect a play (the comic book artists tend to create a script prior to drawing the pictures), but you also have multiple drawings that go with the story, and act to explain what is happening. Actually, I have seen some comics based on Shakespeare plays, and while the story is basically Shakespeare, the art is anything but, and because the actual art is to bad then the book is dragged down with it (it is short of like a bad performance destroying a great play).



The other interesting thing is that like science-fiction it does take a while for comics to enter into the mainstream. This hasn't always been the case, particularly with the Francophone comics such as Tintin and Asterix. However putting them aside (particularly since I don't view the Francophone comics the same as I do the Anglophone), when many of us think of comics we usually think of superheroes, bad artwork, and things that children read (ignoring the fact that quite a lot of adults still enjoy comics). However, it is interesting that even then I tend look down on the comic book as a lesser form of literature, and while I have read some, I really have no desire to go out and pay money for any more (unless I am reviewing a comic book store).


Oh, and since it is set in Balder's Gate apparently there is a reference to the computer game of the same name in the form of Misnc the ranger and his miniature giant space hamster. The problem is that I played the game so long ago that I barely remember anything about the game, that is until the connection was pointed out to me. I sort of remember Minsc, but since, like books, I tend to only play a game once, an once finished I tend to forget all about it and go and do something else. I do know that the game had something to do with Balder's Gate, but then that is pretty obvious from the title.


Source: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28262830-dungeons-dragons