Thanks to everyone who offered birthday thanks this week! I’ve been thinking hard about what I wanted as my first post-birthday review, and decided that today, I’m talking about something that fully embraces the idea that if you don’t see what you want to read in the world you should just go ahead and make it.
Shilin Huang is an artist I have been following for some years. Her webcomic, Carciphona is excellent in every way; art, story and characters. In 2014 I was fortunate enough to be at TCAF and be able to purchase her first artbook, Toccata from the artist directly.
This year at Otakuthon, I was ecstatic to see her in the artist alley and to pick up her newest artbook, Toccata II. Shilin’s art has…well, matured isn’t the right word, exactly. It’s approaching mastery. I’m not being entirely hyperbolic, either. A few of the pictures in this book were positively Raphael-esque in depth of color, pose and texture.
Of the pictures I like best, many of them are riffing on the main characters from Carciphona; sorcerer Veloce Visrin and her archenemy(?) Blackbird who, particularly set out of context in realish-world situations, make for a really sexy couple. The comic itself is a high fantasy, so it’s always kind of fun to see Veloce and Blackbird in modern clothes in a modern apartment, as well as in their native elaborate fantasy setting. You can take a look at many of the images as posters in Shilin’s shop – and she sometimes does drawing online in live sessions, which is always entertaining.
I have yet to actually review Carciphona, (although it is on the list, along with any number of other webcomics I read) but let me take a moment to recommend it highly if you like emotionally intense stories of high fantasy and magic and spirits and lots of fighting and swirly art. And if you like it, the first 6 collected volumes are all available in print as a set or as single issues.
In the meantime, I’ll sit here enjoying this picture, Autumn, with Veloce and Blackbird in uncharacteristic (for them) pose on an anachronistic (for them) motorcycle. ^_^
Overall – 10
This book has some damn fine work in it.