I read a lot of comics. I also read a lot of epic fantasy. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of great epic fantasy stories in comics. While I’ve certainly read a few, I’ve never come across a story with such an intricate plot and incredibly beautiful art in all my years of reading as with Grinidon by J. Miles Dunn.
One year after its former war hero went on a wild rampage that concluded with the murder of its king, the Southern kingdom of Carnasus now braces for an impending attack from the massive military might of the North. With all hope of survival seemingly lost, the leaders of the Carnasus must place their faith and trust in a band of strangers – to be led by a dangerous figure long thought dead – on an impossible mission. If they succeed, the South may just survive the coming war; but if they fail, nothing will prevent their slaughter by the North.
The first two volumes of Grinidon are self-published by J. Miles Dunn with illustrations from Erwin J. Arroza. I backed Dunn’s Kickstarter a couple of years ago based on the art alone, but now that I have finally gotten around to reading the books, I can say without a doubt that Grinidon is one of the best self-published comics I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. While the first volume introduces many of the major players and the important plot points, volume two ramps up the intrigue, action, and character growth through expert storytelling and pacing. From masterful world-building, to deeply compelling characters, to an engrossing plot seething with political and military maneuvering, Grinidon is epic fantasy at its finest.
Where do I even begin with Arroza’s stunning illustrations. Both the character depictions and the landscapes give off a haunting tone mixed with mesmerizing vividness. It’s almost difficult to describe how palpable the drawings are in their detail, while at the same time, leaving a sense of wonder in the dark gray colors that purposely cloud the surrounding backdrops.
Grinidon is the type of fantasy comic you’d expect to see on the shelves at every comic shop across the world. It’s professionalism – from the creative aspect to the physical copy of the book itself – makes it a standout amongst self-published comics. I cannot wait to get my hands on volumes three and four, and hopefully, many more to come in the future.