New Kickstarter graphic novel blends gorgeous art and storytelling the likes of which Lord of the Rings fans won’t want to miss!
Ever heard of Scottish writer George MacDonald? His fantastical stories aren’t just a lot of fun to explore—they’re also an influence and source of inspiration for numerous well-known fantasy writers like J.M. Barrie, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Neil Gaiman, Madeleine L’Engle, and more.
Lewis, in particular, mentions picking up MacDonald’s story, Phantastes, and felt he had “crossed a great frontier” in the reading experience. He and Tolkien both take a lot of energy from MacDonald’s writings, which can be seen in works like Narnia and Lord of the Rings.
Fans of those series and the fantasy genre will be excited to discover that this influence gets even greater attention with a new publication in the works right now—a gorgeous artistic graphic novel presentation of Phantastes by Cave Pictures Publishing.
The story of Phantastes is centered around a young man, Anodos, who is pulled into the dreamlike world of fairyland on the edge of his 21st birthday. As he wanders strange landscapes, hunting for his ideal of female beauty, he encounters a number of otherworldly personalities who tempt him, prod him, and lead him to deciding what is truly important in life.
With storytelling based on MacDonald’s tale crafted by Meredith Finch (Zenescope, DC Comics, Image Comics) and otherworldly art by Christine Norrie and Jess Taylor, readers will love the immersion into a fantastical fairyland with themes we can all relate to.
“We had worked with Finch on The Light Princess (another MacDonald adaptation) and had a wonderful experience with her,” says Mandi Hart, president at Cave. “From the first synopsis, she just hit the nail on the head for adapting it, so we had her in mind from the start for Phantastes, and she was up for it.”
Artists Norrie and Taylor bring an evocative, ethereal feel to the artwork, and fans of elegant graphic/comic art won’t be disappointed at the quality of the visuals that go along with the story.
“We knew we needed a sophisticated, fine arts quality to it because the story is so sophisticated,” says Hart. “We reached out to Norrie, and she was able to bring a unique approach to the paneling—organic, less defined and more free-flowing. It really gives you a sense of Anodos taking this journey.”
Norrie completed chapters 1-3, and then there’s a natural break in the tale that allows for another artist to step in. That’s when Taylor took over. “It’s an opportunity to get another artist involved and also experiment with the breadth of fairyland, because it can be an infinite space,” Hart says.
Right now, Phantastes is in its finishing stages of production, and is preparing for presales of the graphic novel. For that, Cave Pictures Publishing is planning a Kickstarter in November as a convenient way to allow fans to order the book, while benefiting from cool perks.
The Kickstarter will run November 4-20, 2021, with a print copy of Phantastes as the main perk. In addition, fans who want to give more can opt to receive various swag, such as copies of The Light Princess, subscriptions to The Fantasy Network, exclusive art, and even opportunities to set up a call with Finch or the team at Cave.
“It’s a great way for artists and writers to hear feedback and make connections,” Hart explains.
To take advantage of all the cool perks available along with getting a copy of Phantastes, sign up on the campaign’s Kickstarter pre-launch page to get up-to-date announcements as everything launches. And follow Cave on social media to stay in the know and have a chance at some cool giveaways before the Kickstarter launches. Phantastes is expected to be available in print in September 2022.