Today IDW Publishing is releasing a new printing of The Wizard’s Tale. Originally written in 1990 and published in 1997 by Homage, a Wildstorm imprint before DC Comics acquired Wildstorm. At first look The Wizard’s Tale impresses as a work of amazing classical fantasy artwork. But the story itself is a fun bit of fantasy satire, and together the story and art form a standalone fantasy masterpiece in the realm of Willow and The Hobbit.
The Wizard’s Tale was scribed by Kurt Busiek, best known for writing superhero tales like Astro City, but also DC Comics’ weekly Trinity series, as well as Power Company, Conan and several Avengers stories, working across all the major publishing houses at one time or the other. With The Wizard’s Tale, Busiek wrote a story influenced by works he was a fan of, including James Thurber’s The Thirteen Clocks and Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn. The Wizard’s Tale has the sensibilities of both The Last Unicorn and The Hobbit, including plenty of wit, charm, and atmosphere. Despite not having a fully fleshed out full-length novel to pull elements from, Busiek writes a story full of fairy tale and high fantasy characters and themes, including a dangerous journey, an improbable king, and a magical frog. And Busiek even includes a recipe for Sunshine Cake at the back of the book. Cake!?
The artwork is stunning, up there with the best works of Charles Vess, Haddon Sundblom, and P. Craig Russell. Fans of The Hobbit graphic novel–the only J.R.R. Tolkien comic book available and reviewed here at borg.com previously, will find The Wizard’s Tale strangely familiar. That’s because both were illustrated in fine storybook style by David Wenzel. Available in a prior hardcover and a new trade edition, The Wizard’s Tale is the kind of book you’d imagine being read by Peter Falk to his grandson at bedtime.
Some of the images wander into “fantasypunk”–just check out this great telescope:
Wenzel sells many prints of his works at his website, www.davidwenzel.com. The Wizard’s Tale is available at comic book shops today and March 19, 2013 online, where you can pre-order your copy at a discount price at Amazon.com.