Rating: 5/5 – A Classic Repackaging of a Classic Tale
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Al Sparrow
I’m not sure what it is about Elric, Michael Moorcock’s albino sorcerer/warrior king, which brings out some of the most amazing artwork from the creators tasked to retell his tale. I wrote earlier about Titan’s other, more recent, take on his tale, but with this series, collecting the Roy Thomas/P. Craig Russell collection from Pacific Comics, it’s apparent that no matter who works on Elric, the artwork is always a cut above. And yes, it doesn’t hurt that this is P. Craig Russell (and Michael Davis) we’re talking about, but if you missed out on this series when it first came out, take a minute and give thanks it’s coming back to you.
I won’t dig too deeply into the writing aspect of it. Roy Thomas does a great job of adapting Moorcock’s story to the comic book page, and if you’re familiar with Elric’s tale, you already know what to expect (if you’re not familiar, you owe it to yourself to go pick up Moorcock’s original tomes). This first volume collects the first book, Elric of Melnibone, while future books will cover books two and three – The Sailor on the Seas of Fate (personal favorite) and the Weird of the White Wolf – giving Elric fans a nice collection of at least the first part of his epic, while also providing newcomers with a solid introduction to the albino king’s storyline.
It’s the artwork, though, that truly takes center stage in this book. We’re now in a world where, thanks to computers, coloring a book can have no limits. In the right hands, even shoddy inkwork can be made to look gorgeous with the right application of a filter here and an opacity layer there. Keep that in mind as you look at what Russell accomplished with a brush, both on the inking and coloring side. This book was not created in a period where a computer could simply nudge an errant panel back into place, or a transform command could resize art to where it needed to be. This was when comics took planning, and there was no “undo” key to save them. I apologize if I sound like your parents, but seek this book out and I think you’ll understand where I’m coming from.
Moorcock’s Elric has been retold several times in comic book form, and I’m fairly certain it will be retold at least a few more times before I stop reading comics. That each version of his retelling have their own unique qualities to love about them stands not only as a testament to the power of the story itself, but to the writer able to inspire such visions in the creators called to tell it. If you’re looking for an amazing piece of relatively recent, but no less important, comic book history to put on your shelves, or simply want to find out what this whole Elric thing is all about, pick this one up. You won’t be sorry.
Reviewed by: Al Sparrow
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