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Review: The Wizard’s Tale

Bafflerog Rumplewhisker is an evil wizard, or rather he’s supposed to be one. The problem is that his spells don’t quite cause evil and he doesn’t really have the heart to fix them. But still, it’s in his blood to be evil, so when he finds out the hidden location of The Book of Worse-a book with the spells for ending all goodness and light-he’s obligated to go on a quest to find it and turn it over to the Darksome Council…isn’t he?

The Wizard’s Tale
Kurt Busiek; art by David T. Wenzel
Ages 9+; Grades 4+
IDW, January 2010, ISBN 978-1600105951
144 pages, $24.99

IDW has released a new, updated version of Busiek and Wenzel’s classic fantasy comic. Previously released by DC’s Homage line, after the original publisher Eclipse went out of print, The Wizard’s Tale was out of print for quite a few years before IDW picked it back up. Now it’s being published in a new hardcover edition, with updated colors, a slightly touched up script, and new lettering. All of these elements combine to make an already gorgeous comic even more beautiful. Wenzel’s art in this graphic novel is worth the price of the book alone. No detail is left untouched, with tiny little creatures crawling around the margins between the panels and on the edges of many of the pages. He has a firm grasp of anatomy and perspective, so both his characters and his settings leap off of the page. The colors have a soft, watercolor effect that fits the gentle story.

Busiek’s tale is touching, funny, and exciting all at once. By focusing the story on the old wizard, rather than a young adventurer, he encourages the reader to look at the fantasy genre in a new way. At the same time, the older main character opens up the story to appeal to a wider range of readers, from children to adults, making this a perfect book for a family to share together. Light humor sparks up this touching tale and there’s just enough excitement and adventure to keep younger readers engaged. Libraries that have the older edition should think of updating their collection and libraries that have missed this one in its previous incarnations should pick up this fantasy classic immediately. An excellent choice for graphic novel collections.

This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © IDW.

Snow Wildsmith About Snow Wildsmith

Snow Wildsmith is a writer and former teen librarian. She has served on several committees for the American Library Association/Young Adult Library Services Association, including the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She reviews graphic novels for Booklist, ICv2's Guide, No Flying No Tights, and Good Comics for Kids and also writes booktalks and creates recommended reading lists for Ebsco's NoveList database. Currently she is working on her first books, a nonfiction series for teens.

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