Van Von Hunter: Volume 1

Ron Kaulfersch, Author, Mike Schwark, Illustrator . Tokyopop $9.99 (184p) ISBN 978-1-59532-692-8

There's a fine line between satirizing the conventions of the fantasy genre and justifying stereotypes and mediocrity by claiming comedic intent. Thankfully, the humorous adventure of Van Von Hunter falls into the former group. A breezy introduction sets the tone of this Ameri-manga parody, and a refusal to take anything seriously permeates the story. The hero doesn't know what's going on. The sidekick is an amnesiac barmaid. Everyone has to be told by convenient bystanders what to do next in order to stop the nemesis, an evil prince, from finding a magical artifact that will let him take over the kingdom. As is typical of American-influenced comic art, the panels are busier and more crowded than Japanese manga. The art doesn't always live up to the story demands, as when a "packed tavern" is rather sparsely populated, or mystical artifacts under discussion are never shown. It can be hard to follow the plot, but the figures are well-designed and likable. The creators were the winners of Tokyopop's first Rising Stars of Manga competition, and their creation is an amusing quick read. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/16/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-1-59532-693-5
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-1-59532-694-2
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