30 in 30 - Day 19: Seven Soldiers – Klarion the Witchboy / by Frank Gogol

Digging deeper into Seven Soldiers of Victory, today I read Klarion the Witchboy. After the (mostly) straightforward storytelling in Manhattan Guardian, Klarion the Witchboy came as both a shock to the system and a surprisingly humble story. It’s strange and magical, but also structured for simplicity. It could be because Morrison was writing as many as five series at once during the publishing of Seven Soldiers that these stories are reading as less complex--in structure, not content—but it’s a welcome change of pace.

Synopsis

Title: Seven Soldiers – Klarion the Witchboy
Storytellers: Grant Morrison & Frazer Irving
Publisher: DC Comics
Year of Publication: 2005
Page Count: 88

Klarion and his cat familiar Teekl have been handpicked as potential recruits to the Submissionary Order. But Klarion's nature is to rebel against the powers-that-be, which isn't a good idea in such a tightly controlled society—one in which people who don't conform are swiftly judged and burned at the stake!

SPOILERS FOR SEVEN SOLDIERS – KLARION THE WITCHBOY BELOW

What I learned about Comic Book Storytelling in Writing

Morrison, in this series, works in his most episodic structure. Each issue is, more or less, and clear chapter of the story that stands on its own two feet. That said, Morrison is able to successfully keep the narrative cohesive and recognizable by feeding the story through Klarion’s point of view. Klarion is a bit of a blank slate, so the reader learns things as he does, and it comes off as organic. And in traditional storytelling structure, the story circles back on itself and ends where it began and with things changed forever. Morrison is rightfully accused of making his stories complicated, but here he tells a clear sort of coming-of-age story, reinforcing that even the best-of-the-best can just tell a good, simple story.

What I learned about Comic Book Storytelling in Art

Irving’s art is an interesting mix of both clear and unclear. One the one hand, he sticks to clear layouts with traditional(ish) panel sizes and borders. On the other hand, his work has a strange blurred quality to it, which lends itself to the strange magical story of Klarion the Witchboy. Of the Seven Soldiers stories so far, this is by far the slowest, most decompressed story. Most of that is on the script-side of things, so Irving keeps things interesting by playing with panel size. He uses thin panels and tall panels to keep the pace lively sometimes. And other times, he works with lots of widescreen panels to slow the pace down.

Recommendation: B (Entertaining, Worth a Read)

Check back tomorrow when I tackle Seven Soldiers – Mister Miracle.

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