We're currently in the midst of our Fantasy Week, and there's no greater fantasy tale than JRR Tolkein's epic Lord of the Rings trilogy. The series --- which was later adapted by Peter Jackson as one of the most critically acclaimed genre franchises of all time --- helped define Western interpretations of the genre as a whole and even people who don't care for fantasy probably have some positive feelings about Lord of the Rings.
Comic books have a long history with the genre and we've assembled a list of five of the best independent fantasy comics for you to check out if you're a fan of the genre. Love that? Try this!
Since the dawn of the Silver Age, legacy characters have been a staple of superhero fiction, and having a new character step into a well loved role can open up new opportunities for writers and artists to tell different kinds of stories. In The Replacements, we’ll look back at the notable and not-so-notable heroes and villains to assume some of the most iconic mantles in the superhero genre.
The Mighty Thor is a hero as old as time and a founding Avenger, but The Prince of Asgard is not the only person to bear that moniker. Over time there have been other heroes and villains who have attempted to claim the name of Thor, and not all of them were considered worthy.
Walt Simonson, Laura Martin and John Workman's Ragnarok is an epic in every sense of the word. It's the story of Thor --- the Norse god, not any other comic book characters of the same name that you might be thinking of when you hear the words "Walt Simonson" --- returning to life as a rotting but vengeance-driven warrior in a world that's already seen its apocalypse and forming an uneasy alliance with a dark elf assassin sent to finish him off for good.
If you're not sold already, you can read an exclusive preview right here, in which Thor's alliance with Regn gives way to an agreement that one of them is more than likely going to kill the other, assuming they both survive for the next 40 pages.
It's been a while since we've seen an issue of Walt Simonson, Laura Martin and John Workman's Ragnarok, but that doesn't mean that I've forgotten for a second how awesome it is. If you somehow missed the first six issues, it's an epic that marks Simosnon's return to Thor --- just not the Thor you probably associate with him. Instead, Simonson is drawing more heavily on Norse mythology for the story of a world after the battle at the end of all things, where Asgard is in ruins, the enemies of the Gods have taken over the world, and Thor himself is barely clinging to life, driven by duty and revenge.
Needless to say, it is basically amazing.
Next week, the series returns to kick off its second arc, as a Dark Elf assassin sets out to finish the job and kill Thor for good. Check out an exclusive preview!
For any other creator, Thor would've been enough. It's a four-year masterpiece, one that I've frequently called the single best run of superhero comics of all time thanks to its perfect blending of comic book action and the high fantasy of Norse mythology, and that's not a really difficult argument to defend. There are issues with bone-shattering larger-than-life battles, and there are issues that hit so hard emotionally that I still get a little choked up thinking about them, and there are issues that do both at the same time. Thirty years later, it still holds up as an unparalleled high point of the genre, and for any other creator, that would be enough.
For Walt Simonson, born this day in 1946, it was just the tip of the iceberg.
I like to think I do a pretty good job keeping up with what's out on the stands, but somehow, some way, I managed to completely miss IDW's Ragnarok from Walt Simonson, Laura Martin, and John Workman, until just this week --- and believe me, I'm kicking myself for it. Ragnarok offers action-packed high adventure and sweeping storytelling from some of my favorite creators in comics, with a story that hooked me from the first page.
Of course, the bright side to coming late to the book is that I managed to catch up on the first three issues all at once rather than wait, and with how much I loved it, I'm pretty sure the bimonthly schedule that the book seems to be on would've been a nightmare. If you've been on the fence about picking up Ragnarok, here's five good reasons to give it a shot.
Following up on the Thor material for which he is perhaps best known, cartoonist Walter Simonson announced at Comic-Con that he's created Ragnarök, a creator-owned Norse mythology project to be released through IDW Publishing. Additionally, Simonson confirmed that IDW will produce deluxe editions of his cult favorite science fiction title Star Slammers.
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