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!?