I had just finished talking to Nick Abadzis when I turned around, headed for the door and spied a lone book with a corgi on the cover, just lying there on an exhibitor table. Upon inspection I knew I had to have it, and I shelled out what was intended to be gas money to buy it. See, corgis are my favorite breed of dog, with beagles and bulldogs tied for #2, and pugs a close third. Sorry Beth and Alex, I like pugs, but I love farm dogs too much. Those ears, man.
Turns out, I picked up book three in the Korgi series by Christian Slade, but it's no big deal, since each story is wordless and very easy to follow. Here's how it goes: a race of corgis live in an idyllic little glen called Korgi Hollow, and the main character is, of course, one of these pointy-eared dogs- who apparently has the ability to spit flame, a one-in-a-million occurrence. Did I mention this world has elves, sorcerers, sentient porcupines and weird little dirt creatures? That should put the canine pyrotechnics in perspective.
So this special corgi, Sprout, has a fairy friend named Ivy who he hangs out with, along with Otto, a patch-eyed porcupine with an acumen for archery. They have adorable adventures together, eat at picnics together and love cool shards of glass together (SHOUT OUT), all without a single line of dialogue after the introductory page. If you want a great lesson on how to show a story without telling, check this out. Slade is a master at describing characters through their body language, designs and faces, and using action to drive the story comes naturally to him. The art is what really takes the cake and needs to be talked about the most. It's gorgeous and highly detailed, with Disney-esque characters (Slade is a former Disney animator) and an earthy feel that reminds me of old movies like The Last Unicorn and The Hobbit. Slade's thin pencil strokes give each panel the feel that it was carved from a tree, and I can't imagine how much time and effort it took to make each picture. It's gorgeous though, take a look.
Everything is so happy, even when evil jerks come to ruin everything. Don't take that to mean that he's incapable of displaying tension. As fast as this book is to read, he still can take you on an interesting journey through this universe's canon, which is very well thought-out (including a glossary in the back in case you're new to the series like me) and full of mirth and suspense. The cool thing about this book is the switch he makes at the halfway point, when he reverses art styles to tell a story within this story using much more iconic designs, with thicker, blacker lines and simpler shapes. It's great to see him alternate between the polar opposites of the medium, especially in how it affects your view of characters when it switches back and forth between styles. Korgi turned out to be a great impulse buy, if you ask me. It's a nice feel-good fantasy tale of my favorite breed having its own universe to cavort through, and I think it would be a great way to stimulate kids' imaginations if they were to get their hands on this series.
TL;DR: Do you love adorable fantasy stories about fire-breathing dogs? Then do I have a book for you.