Have I mentioned that I have a thing for picking up comics at conventions? Because I do that a lot. One such person that I have made a habit of visiting at any convention that comes to town is Jonathan Dalton for another series.1
Last time I went, I decided to pick up Lords of Death and Life from him instead of my usual, which I have only now finished, more than half a year later. Because I am amazing at this. And the book was a lot of fun!
The thing that drew me to it2 was that it wasn’t based at all in Western culture. The story is about Mayans and Aztecs and doesn’t have any mention of Europeans in it at all, instead focusing entirely on their culture and their own gods. Or an imagined version of that.
It reads a lot like a story passed along through oral traditions, which is both good and bad to me. On the one hand, it feels really authentic and there are little touches in the art that really make it stand out. I mean, just look at the flames. They look like Mayan art. The smoke is the same. It’s small, but the detail is great.
Then again, I do have this one issue with oral tradition style stories in that it doesn’t feel finished. We have a man who travels away from his family, gets caught up in dealings involving gods, discovers he has an uay3 and there’s a subplot with a woman that feels like it was just cast aside so that the rest of the story could happen. The ending feels a lot like it stops and it leaves you wanting more when there is nothing more. In a lot of ways, it’s a pilot episode that never got picked up. And that’s disappointing.
It’s still a great read, though. Dalton does great world building and, even though there’s some issues I have with the ending, everything else in it is pretty strong.
If you want to check out this one or anything else he’s done, he has all his comics available online for free at Jonathan Dalton Comics. If you like it, do check out his shop. Support the little guys who are putting out good, interesting stuff.