Mouse Guard: Winter 1152

From MouseGuard.net:

In the Winter of 1152, the Guard face a food and supply shortage threatening the lives of many through a cold and icy season. Serving as diplomats Saxon, Kenzie, Lieam, and Sadie, led by Celanawe, traverse the snow blanketed territories to improve relations between cities and the Guard. This is a winter not every Guard may survive.

I’ve been a fan of comics as far back as I can remember. To date, I’ve collected nearly 2,600 comics. That’s not a lot, by most collectors standards, but it fills about 13 longboxes in my closet, so I’m gonna say it’s a pretty big collection.

My oldest comic is a copy of Classics Illustrated: The Corsican Brothers #20 ( [HRN62] for the comic nerds), but I didn’t collect that until I was in my late 20s. It’s also the one that’s worth the most, at least theoretically. But the ones with the most intrinsic value to me are the ones I had growing up, which are… somewhat worse for the wear.

How was I to know that one of these might be worth a lot someday (spoiler: none of them would be, especially after mom got to them and wrote my name on them). But the fifty or so comics I had lit a fire of imagination in me from a very young age, and I’ve been a big fan ever since. Naturally, that led me to comic conventions, where the comic creator is king – with the notable exception of San Diego’s Comic-Con International and a few others. I’m always eager to walk around and check out the great new work by up and coming artists, so when I passed David Petersen’s booth at Comicpalooza 2014, I was immediately enthralled by the quality of his work.

1900380_10152087269150583_8779619439876380281_oThe production value on these hardcovers is nothing short of astounding – hundreds of high-quality pages with even higher-quality art, and the story… I’d never even heard of MouseGuard before I arrived at Comicpalooza, and yet within hours of picking up these books I’d already devoured them. I even managed to snag a bit of art to hang on the wall, too.

What amazed me most about the books wasn’t just the phenomenal artwork, as you can see from the picture here and on the cover, but also the story itself. Often with comics, the story takes a backseat of sorts to the artwork, which is only natural for a mostly visual medium such as comics. Still, every so often, the story is told with a lot of talent, wit, and vision. Now-defunct Crossgen Comics was able to do that across not just several issues, but across titles, spanning their entire line.

The story of Mouse Guard is that of sentient mice on an Earth-like world where humans never evolved. Mice became intelligent and created their own civilization, with everything that entails, including enemies (weasels, owls, and various other animals). In this book, Winter 1152, six issues of the comic are collected to tell us of the fight of the mice to save what remains of their society, decimated by sickness and treachery. Every bit as complex as any fantasy novel I’ve read (except perhaps Wheel of Time and Game of Thrones), Mouse Guard brings us into a world so far removed from what we’re used to that it could easily be alien, but with a deft touch, Petersen makes these furry new friends of ours relatable.

IMG_1815[1]Winter 1152 is about strength through adversity, not just in terms of the weather, or illness, but of moral strength, courage in the face of overwhelming odds, and fighting for what’s right in a world of chaos, betrayal, and evil. With wonderful art, a great story, and excellent production value, this book is well worth adding to your collection.

Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 is available from Archaia Entertainment on Amazon.com and other booksellers.

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