5 classic fantasy comic series

Every month comic fans wait for the new issue of their favorite comic book. It seems that neither the most modern video games nor the most entertaining movies or television series can’t shake the position of the comics industry. Well-known comics can give a rise to a huge multimedia universe or be a basis for a book or a film. Comic is one of the ways of mass culture existence, including fantasy. Nowadays there are so many options for a fantasy lover to choose from, that we've decided to take a look at 5 classic series of this genre, which have already captured the attention of thousands of fans all over the world.

1. Sandman

“Sandman” comic book was released in the 1990s and tells a story about the character called Dream of the Endless (or the Sandman). Sandman is a god of the world of dreams, who has been captured and now has to escape to return the world to its natural state. The story begins with one occultist, who in the beginning of the last century decided to catch the Death by means of a spell so that it could make him immortal. But something went wrong and the Sandman has been locked instead. Refusing not only to fulfill the wishes of the warlock but even to talk to him, the Sandman has spent nearly 70 years in prison. During the time the Sandman was not in control, everything has changed, including the real world. In addition, when the Sandman finally escaped he discovered that he himself is not the same as he used to be.

Fantasy writer Neil Gaiman created a whole universe where the real world and the world of gods intertwine in a bizarre way. “Sandman” comics consist of scattered stories, which intersect with each other and describe different countries, time periods and as well as an incredible number of characters.

“Sandman” comic series

“Sandman” comic series

2. ElfQuest

“ElfQuest” is one of the classic fantasy comic book series, created by an American couple artists Wendy and Richard Pini and released in 1978 for the first time. The plot of this fantasy story is based on the life of the tribe of the elves and other fantastic creatures, who fight for the survival on a planet similar to Earth called “World of Two Moons” or “Abode”. For many years the authors Wendy and Richard Pini published “ElfQuest” comics absolutely independently. Later Marvel Comics bought the publishing rights, but only for several issues. The authors then decided to found their own company called Warp Graphics and continue publishing comics on their own. However, later issues again were transferred to the third party publishing companies, such as DC Comics and Dark Horse.

Elves are immortal, telepathic creatures, forced to leave their planet in search for a better place. They find a new home on a planet called "World of Two Moons", but have to hide in tree shelters in the light of the day, since the planet is inhabited by a human-like race with a primitive society. Only at night elves are able to come out and hunt with fellow wolves. Knowing that people are afraid and hate them, elves have to lurk in the woods. Many generations continue the struggle for existence until one day one of the members of the tribe violates the rules and goes hunting alone.

“ElfQuest” comic

“ElfQuest” comic

“Conan” comic series

“Conan” comic series

3. Conan

It is difficult to imagine a more famous historical fantasy character than Conan the Cimmerian. Some sources claim that Conan is a real man with an incredible courage and strength. But no matter whether this character is real or not, almost everyone knows about his adventures. The Conan character is more than 80 years old, as he was created by Robert Irwin Howard in 1930. And till this day this strong blue-eyed brunette has a huge army of fans.

Robert Howard gave a very detailed description of the world, where Conan lives. Readers get acquainted with an era of long-forgotten empires, which lagging behind “our” world for 20 000 years.However, the inhabitants of the fantasy world have access to the benefits of later civilizations, such as carriages, sailing frigates, iron and other things. Just like any story of the fantasy genre, this world is, of course, full of magic and creepy monsters. Moreover, all of the states and its residents, described by Robert, are inspired by our modern countries as well as its inhabitants.

The comic book about Conan was published several times by two different companies: “Marvel” (since 1970) and “Dark Horse” (in 2004 and 2008). Former president of the United States Barak Obama is actually a big fan of Conan and well-known collector of comics dedicated to this character. Due to this fact, a series of 5 issues called “Barack the Barbarian” was published in 2009.

“Dungeons and Dragons” is a role-playing game in the genre of fantasy, created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. It was first released by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. In 1974, and since 1997 by the company called Wizards of the Coast. The main distinguishing feature of “Dungeons and Dragons” is the introduction of various fantastic creatures and magic objects into the game. Players eventually have control, not over military units, but individual characters, while the action of the game is moved to the dungeons. The leader (Dungeon Master) is the arbiter and the narrator. The main goal of the players is to create a group of several characters, which will participate in battles, various conflicts and interact with each other.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the publishing company DC Comics acquired a license from Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. to transfer the world of “Dungeons and Dragons” onto the pages of comic books. During this time DC Comics released several issues of comic books including “Advanced Dungeons and Dragons”, “Dragonlance,” “Forgotten Realms,” and “Spelljammer”.

The presence of various fantastic creatures allows comparing “Dungeons and Dragons” with the art of JRR Tolkien. However Gary Gygax says that the influence of “The Lord of the Rings” novel was insignificant, and the use of its elements is just a marketing move. But subsequently “Dungeons and Dragons” was influenced by other different writers, such as Robert Howard, Edgar Burroughs, Michael Moorcock.

“Dungeons and Dragons” comic

“Dungeons and Dragons” comic

“Fables” comics

“Fables” comics

5. Fables

“Fables” is a mix of fairy-tale and fantasy and one of the longest comic series. It was created by Bill Willingham and first published in 2002 by the subsidiary publishing house Vertigo, owned by DC Comics. For over a decade, more than 150 issues of "Fables" have been published.

The main plot of “Fables” comics is a story about folk characters, which were driven from their fictional place into “our” world. All of them settled in New York and created their own community called Fabletown. They now live on a Farm and do everything not to be seen by people since not all of the fairy-characters are human-alike.

The most popular characters of the “Fables” comic series are Bigby, Snow White, Rose Red, Prince Charming, Beauty, Beast and others, who now live in a grim realistic world. The “Fables” series is constantly evolving and the main characters are changing.

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