Tall Tails: Volume 1
J.D. Calderon & Daphne Lage
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Buy *The Collected Tall Tails: Volumes 1-3* online

The Collected Tall Tails: Volumes 1-3
J.D. Calderon & Daphne Lage
Dream Weaver Press
July 2002
130 pages
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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As border disputes give rise to potential war between the kingdoms of Lifdell and Kalizar, a band of wizards and warriors band together to recover Christian, the heir to the Lifdell thone, and reclaim the Great Seal of Iberion. The Ravenwood cousins, E. F. and Cromwell, lead this group as they battle against pirates, trolls, rats, and other vermin to protect the heir and discover where the Great Seal is being smuggled to.

The last in a long tradition of noble and brave fighters known as the Kreston Knights, E.F. and Cromwell lead different lives. Cromwell, with his one-eyed archer, Seen, and the King’s sorcerer Gordon, work closely for the king, while E.F., a wandering knight, and his band of warriors find new quests and adventures around every corner—including their recent pledge to return the Great Seal. While searching for the kidnapped prince, Cromwell reunites with E.F. and his friends. Having just rescued a boy from a den of thieves, E. G. doesn’t realize that the lad Andrew is, in fact, Christian. But he was the last person to see who took the Great Seal and hence must travel with the Ravenwoods and friends to recover it before it falls into the hands of the king of Kalizar.

The pursuit leads them to Garrison Hadge, Earl and second-in-line to the throne, who welcomes them with open arms and devious plans. With Christian in his clutches, Hadge plots to kill him and take over the throne. But other plots abound, and the team of heroes at times are working out their own agenda - one can’t always be sure who is involved in the various conspiracies.

The first three volumes of this fantasy series provide all the classic elements of any epic fantasy along with great dialogue, action, and pace. With loveable and loathsome characters, readers quickly find themselves rooting for one person or another. In the first volume, the authors add a shorter piece, giving background to some of the heroes. The first volume contains only four issues, but the second has five issues included and the third holds six. The price on all three stands the same, so it would seem the deeper you get into the series, the cheaper it gets.

Through the first volume is not as aesthetically cohesive as the following two, it still manages to entice and entertain the reader. In the following volumes, the artists seem to find their niche, delivering starker drawings provoking a more visible contrast of the black-and-white illustrations. The transition from the first graphic novel also means that the characters are a bit more identifiable whereas in the first, it’s sometimes easy to confuse certain people. The use of anthropomorphized animals works quite well throughout the entire series. What the graphic novel lacks that would be most useful is a character guide as well as a map. This tool goes a long way in helping readers acclimate themselves to the fantasy environment.

Love, humor, politics, action, adventure and a pair of bickering wizards stand as some of this series grand features, but of course, more can be found. With an expanding plot and engaging cast, JD Calderon and Daphne Lage provide some graphic novels for readers looking to get lost in a unique world of fantasy.

Dream Weaver Press is an independent publisher—many of their products (such as these titles) are not available at most retailers. They are available for purchase at https://www.egoworks.com/talltails/store.html.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Lance Eaton, 2005

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