The Talisman: Road of Trials by Stephen King and Peter Straub

A superb graphic novel that sets the ground for the real story to build upon.
The Talisman: Road of Trials book cover

‘Jack had been six when it really started...’

So opens our short story. Short? At around 160 pages, yes, all too short and I say this because I enjoyed it way too much.

This book is a rare treat; a great story with artwork that more that matches the storytelling. The graphic style is the real storyteller here it reminded me of the heyday of Judge Dredd in 2000 A.D., a comic that I grew up with when it first came out. I spent a lot of time checking out the art in this novel as that is where the all the description is. Without the flowing narrative of either King or Straub to pull us in we are instead drawn in by a dark world spattered with blood and mystery.

A fine mix of a classic fantasy style fused with modern horror all told through the eyes of a young boy. A boy that I might add a great many readers already know through the sequel: The Talisman, this after all is a prequel to the massive hit penned by Messieurs King and Straub (not that I have ever read it).

At all times when reading this story (dialogue) pay attention to the details in the artwork: the tattered shadows, reflections in the blood, and where the eyes are looking. Originally this novel was published in six parts, the cover art for which is included in the book. As a series it would have been near the front of the queue waiting for each issue, as it is I’ll have to go and get the next part.

In summary then: a superb graphic novel that sets the ground for the real story to build upon. The cover price alone is just for the artwork - the story is a great bonus. Go get it.

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