Riddler’s Fayre

Riddler’s Fayre

Riddler’s Fayre: The Vaults of the Mind
(2006), Usharp Comics. Written by Steve Carrol Art by Jeff Anderson
and Richard Thomas, 53 pp. Hardback

Historical fiction is something we don’t see a
lot of in current comics. Marv Wolfman said if
well in a recent Comic Con panel. “I made up all
the stuff” in a series of character studies he did
for DC comics some years ago. For the
History of Israel graphic novel Wolfman is
currently working (now published) on
he is doing a massive amount of
very time consuming research.
Sometimes it is just easier to make up your
characters and worlds out of imaginary
whole cloth. You don’t have to worry about
little things like historical facts and context.

Steve Carroll sets his story in the Summer of
1199 in medieval Europe shortly after the
Third Crusade. This story revolves around
an ambitious French nobleman, Comte Ludovic
Parvell of Clermont and his ruthless quest for
the Philosopher’s Stone that can turn lead into
gold and grant eternal life. The story involves a
mysterious knight with a young teen boy who
has no memory and arcane symbols emblazoned
on his arm, a beautiful Roma girl, a wise Muslim
scholar, a wandering Jew, kindly nuns and plenty
of action and plot twists to keep you going to the
end. The story is well plotted and visualized with
engaging characters. This book makes you want
to read more to see had the tale unfolds and how
these characters grow during the course of the
story. The story reminded one of Prince Valiant,
but unlike the saga presented by Harold Foster
or his successors, people of faith are a given (as
they were in the middle ages), not something
to be largely ignored. This is the first in a series of
Riddler’s Fayre adventures that will be continued
in the next book called “The Game of Revenge.”

Jeff Anderson provides thoroughly professional
work in supplying the pencils and inks with
Richard Thomas doing balanced and restrained
color work. This graphic novel places historical
fiction squarely within the context of current
Christian comics. Bravo for Steve Carroll, Jeff
Anderson and Usharp Comics.

(This review was written in August 2006.)

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