Graphic novel review: THE LAST DRAGON written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Rebecca Guay. Published by Dark Horse Comics
Master storyteller Jane Yolen (Owl Moon, Sword of the Rightful King) and celebrated fantasy artist Rebecca Guay (Swamp Thing, Magic: The Gathering) weave a textured and lyrical tale of adventure, homelands, and heroism the hard way.
Two hundred years ago, humans drove the dragons from the islands of May. Now, the last of the dragons rises to wreak havoc anew-with only a healer's daughter and a kite-flying would-be hero standing in its way.
I requested an ARC of THE LAST DRAGON through NetGalley because of the author’s reputation and the cover illustration. I was hoping for a great dragon story with the feel of a traditional myth, but with new twists—and for illustrations which had a classic beauty.
I was not disappointed.
The story began with sepia toned art work and pages framed in a battered-brown. This combination created the appearance of an ancient book. It was so well done that, at one point, I thought if I touched my computer screen I’d feel worn leather (much like the ancient books which are mentioned in the story). As I read on, I didn’t notice when the ancient-look gave way to a more conventional comic book form. What I did realize was that the illustrations varied from textured and beautifully detailed to more simplistic, in a rhythm which seamlessly matched the needs of the story. Overall the illustrations were wonderful. They had an oriental flair and at the same time were reminiscent of the Golden Age of illustrations.
The written story was equally as wonderful. At first, some of the characters seemed like standard fairytale creations. But they didn’t always do what I expected or wanted them to do—which provided tension and made me read THE LAST DRAGON in one sitting.
The world building was extensive and never interfered with the story. Secondary characters and plot threads worked well and expanded the story to a point where I felt like I was experiencing an epic instead of a single graphic novel. There was humor and action, romance and adventure . . . Okay, it was just plain great. I recommend THE LAST DRAGON for anyone who loves fantasy, whether you’re a graphic novel fan or not. In fact, I’m planning on ordering copies as gifts for people who are not fantasy fans, but are art lovers. I’m quite sure they’ll love everything about it.
Publication date: September 21, 2011
If you’d like to see examples of Rebecca Guay’s stunning art work check out her website: http://www.rebeccaguay.com/
And here’ s a link to Jane Yolen’s website which has tons of information about how her stories can be used for teaching and interviews about writing for children and more: http://janeyolen.com/
Here’s a link to Dark Horse Comics if you’d like to check out their other comics and graphic novels : http://www.darkhorse.com/