With so many big names and big events plastered across the shelves of your LCS, sometimes great comics get left behind – buried in long boxes until someone comes along to find these Hidden Gems.
Continuing the remembrance of the late Mike Wieringo as last Wednesday marked two years since he passed away, here’s a spotlight on his and Todd Dezago’s Tellos.
Basically, it was written specifically for Wieringo. After their successful run on Sensational Spider-Man in the late ’90s, Wieringo was free from his exclusive contract at Marvel and the duo focused on this creator owned book to be published via Image. Three one-shot issues were published first – titled as prologue, prelude and preview – by Image and the series itself lasted 10 issues. However, a friction with Image caused the last few issues of the series to be published by Mike’s own Gorilla Comics, a company that didn’t last long. In 2007 the rights for collecting the series were back in the hands of Image, and they intended to publish a Colossal edition which contained all 13 issues. The publication date was set and the book was solicited. Then few weeks earlier, Wieringo passed away. The book suddenly became a memoir for the famed artist.
The story itself tells about the misadventures of young boy Jarek and his companion, humanoid tiger Koj, two adventurers and thieves in a fantasy world. A run-in with a pirate named Serra and other characters, leads the whole group to go on a quest to discover the true origin of Jarek and fight an evil sorcerer who wants to destroy their world.
It sounds just like many other fantasy stories and basically is perfect for kids. Back when reading the book I liked Wieringo’s art way over the story, but looking at it back, it’s so much darker and original than you may think at first. The ending of the story is anchored deeply in the “real” world – literally – and it’s affects on the world we know for most of the series, and the affects the fantasy world has on it – they are much, much scary knowing the whole picture.
Fantasy enthusiasts and big kids (I’ll say it fits 11-12 year olds and up, don’t remember any rating on the cover) will love this story for the setting, the adventures, the characters and everything that makes it a fantasy story. The other layers of the tale – the emotional value and subtext connecting the two worlds I mentioned above – will most likely attract a wider audience.
But – and that’s a big “but” – it is obvious what’s the biggest attraction of this book. Like I said, it was suited just for Mike Wieringo. Although Dezago moved along with the story and couple more one-shots/specials done with other artists for Image, Tellos always remained Mike’s work. The backgrounds, the characters, the designs – they are all Mike’s. His trademarks are all over the place and if more people will read Tellos he’ll be forever remembered for this great artwork. Of course, Mike had lots of other works he will be remembered for – from Flash through Robin to Fantastic Four – but Tellos was HIS and the one creation he cherished the most.
To contact Tomer Soiker: firstname.lastname@example.org