"The Childe...More restless than the swallow in the skies..." -Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Welcome Back, Bodie Troll!

Too busy! Too crowded, I said as my eyes bumped and tumbled from the title down the cover. Stripes. Suckers. Fur. Feathers. The cover overflows with a monstrous hoard, oddly vibrant yet pastel. My eyes remained unable to lock onto anything…until I reached the bottom right corner. There I saw a damsel fleeing the chaos above and behind. On her shoulder, shaking his fists defiantly at the charging throng, a lovable creature named Bodie Troll. The moment I saw these two, whom I remembered from previous adventures, the whole panel came into focus and I was giggling with delight.

Artist Jay P. Fosgitt’s cover to Bodie Troll: Fuzzy Memories! Issue 1 showcases the escapade readers will find inside. The title character heads off a new adventure, getting into trouble in his quest to be seen as a fearsome troll. He may have the black eyes of a shark but his body has all the ferocity of a lap dog. The harder he tries to scare, the more endearing he becomes. In this issue, Bodie places a bet he has what it takes to be a true predator, capturing and eating live prey. If he loses the bet, he loses his hair. And as Fosgitt’s drawing makes clear, Bodie would not look handsome bald, let alone scary.

This is fantasy storytelling, a little bit Lord of the Rings, a little bit Popeye. Frankly, Bodie Troll has every right to be stale and belabored. Especially given this is not Bodie’s debut. Yet the adoration Fosgitt has for his characters, the care he takes to make every page a visual feast, infuses the story with freshness and vibrancy. I had as much fun reading this Bodie Troll adventure as I did the original series.

There is playful, goofy dialogue and loads of physical comedy. The creatural ensemble is naturally comedic, only becoming more so as the adventure escalates. There is also an exciting, and frankly gorgeous, new character: Hokum. She is bald and beautiful and…purple. And she has it in for Bodie and all troll-kind. I mentioned playful and funny. Did I also mention action-packed?

I would not describe myself as a hardcore comic book fan, though I’ve spent plenty of time and money flirting with becoming one. When I come to this genre, it is for diversion and for tales like I loved as a young and naïve boy. Bodie Troll tickles these fancies masterfully. I also think Fosgitt demonstrates real storytelling prowess. He nimbly mingles themes and plot points in a fun and compelling way that lead to big payoffs in the final panels. The casual reader likely won’t feel beat over the head. The in-depth reader will be rewarded with subtle references and nifty connections.

Bodie Troll: Fuzzy Memories! gets off to a swashbuckling start with Issue 1. I highly recommend it for the fun and charm saturating every page. The issue also comes with stylistically contrasting takes on Bodie Troll via artful pinups from Kyle Latino, Nathan Pride, and Bruce Gerlach. This issue will be available beginning May 6, 2015 from Red 5 Comics.

DISCLAIMER: As a fellow writer, I am personally acquainted with Mr. Fosgitt and was given a complementary advance copy for the purpose of providing this review. How nice then that the above rave is wholly sincere!

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