IDW Makes Me Long for Baldur’s Gate

Good day, everyone! My post for this week builds off my previous one about IDW. This time around, I want to give a general review and recommendation for one of IDW’s current titles I’m loosely following–the enormously titled Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate – Tyranny of Dragons by Jim Zub and Max Dunbar.

This title (along with the fact that I just recently finished Dragon Age Inquisition, which I may address in another post) really brings my nostalgia for Baldur’s Gate to the forefront of my mind. Though I never completed it or its sequel (Shadows of Amn, which I still consider one of my all-time favorite role-playing games, along with Planescape: Torment–on a side note, Will still has one of my old copies of the game, which seems to be working out for him these days), I still have fond memories of adventuring and questing across the Forgotten Realms with a unique and nuanced team of characters, not the least of whom was the (probably) brain-damaged ranger named Minsc.

Legends of Baldur’s Gate begins about a century or so after the events of the Baldur’s Gate games, and likely several decades after the deaths of many of the games’ main characters, Minsc included. The story begins with an Elven wild mage (D&D, y’all!) named Delina on a personal quest to the city of Baldur’s Gate on the run from some powerful enemies. During her flight, she enters a pavilion filled with the statues of great heroes from the city’s history. Included among them is a statue of Minsc, called the Legendary Ranger at this point.

While using her wild magic to defend herself, Delina accidentally animates the statue of Minsc, complete with his miniature giant space hamster companion, Boo. There’s a bit of existential horror boiling beneath the surface here that never gets its due in the story. Given that this Minsc seems to have all the memories that the real Minsc would have, does this mean that Minsc was stuck as a statue for nearly a century? If not, does this mean that Delina somehow creates a perfect replica of Minsc using the statue as a template? Is the answer somewhere between these questions? As of the end of the second issue of the series, this bit of the story has not yet been told.

Though it’s far from the best fantasy comic out right now, this one is worth a look , if for no other reason than to sate your Baldur’s Gate nostalgia. Also, I do think it has a lot of potential on its own, so try it out if you’re interested in anything I talked about today. The fifth issue of the series will likely be out by the time you read this, so you’ll have quite the stack of material to work through if you choose to follow it.

As has become the norm, this series is my reading recommendation for this week. Check it out on comiXology or go out and support your local comic shops. I’ll see you all next time.

Minsc and Boo stand ready! Swords for everyone!

Worth a Look — IDW Publishing

Good day, everyone! For this entry in my newly revamped season two here at Sourcerer, I want to take a step back and have a look at one of the larger comics publishers that isn’t one of the big boys, and isn’t quite indie, but has a lot of potential—IDW. The company originally arose in 1999 as a ploy to capitalize on popular merchandising, but it has grown into a fairly strong competitor in the comics market in the years since. True, it doesn’t have a lot of its own unique properties currently, but as I said, it has a lot of potential.

IDW’s first unique comic series was 30 Days of Night in 2002, which many of you probably remember foremost as that vampire movie set in Alaska that starred Josh Hartnett. Aside from this, most of IDW’s most recognizable properties have all been older licensed intellectual properties including Star Trek, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, G.I. Joe, Ghostbusters, and even (shudder) My Little Pony. They’ll also be launching a new Jem and the Holograms series this year.

30 Days of Night cover image by Ben Templesmith

Among those licensed properties, the Star Trek line has some of the most interesting stories currently running. The ongoing Star Trek series launched shortly after the 2009 reboot film and actually operates with some input from the movies’ writers. Further, some of its material has even influenced the direction the movies take, making it an intriguing (and canonical) print foray into this newer growing Star Trek universe. One storyline I must read and review one day for Sourcerer is the one currently running—the crew of Kirk’s Enterprise encounter Q (of Next Generation infamy), who, aware of the changes in the timeline brought on at the beginning of the 2009 film, actually sends the Enterprise into the future of the old timeline to Deep Space Nine during the Dominion War. If you can’t see how awesome this concept potentially is, there’s no help for you.

IDW has also been stepping it up with its imported line of comics, particularly its European forays. Most notable is a series that begins its US publication in April called The Infinite Loop, a French science fiction comic book about time travel and same-sex love. It looks pretty interesting and I’ll definitely be checking it out when I’m able.

That’s about it for this week. As a reading recommendation, I’d suggest digging something up that’s been published by IDW and giving it a shot, especially given its recent (and promising) move to San Diego. Given the span of IDW’s licenses, you stand a good chance of finding something you’ll like. See you all again soon. Go out and support your local comic shops!

Summer Reading Recommendations – Independent Comics

Last week I did a reading list of recommended comics from Marvel comics. We’ve had a couple of other reading recommendations lists as well. This week I’d like to focus on independent comics, to recommend some more great reads for your summer!

When I say “independent comics,” I pretty much mean “not Marvel or DC.” There are a lot of other publishers, although some of the big small ones are Image, IDW, and Dark Horse. You can find most all of the publishers on ComiXology – which is why it’s distressing that they have been changing hands and changing how they do business. They were an amazing portal for finding, buying and reading independent comics.

Meaning, most everything I have to recommend are things I found through ComiXology. Or had recommended by others. However, I could see these being more likely to show up places like your local library, in trade paperbacks or as graphic novels. Or even your local bookstore or comic store!

Continue reading