Sunday, November 8, 2015

Review: FARLAINE THE GOBLIN: Book 4: The Twistlands


COVER: Anonymous
VARIANT COVER: Charles Paul Wilson III
ISBN:  978-0-9890058-4-5; paperback (September 2015)
56pp, B&W; $5.00 U.S.


I am having fun reading the Farlaine the Goblin graphic novels series.  Published by Studio Farliane, this all-ages comic is written and drawn by a cartoonist credited  as “Anonymous.”  I contacted Studio Farliane, and they sent me review copies of two Farlaine the Goblin books.

This graphic novel series focuses on Farlaine the Goblin.  He is a tree goblin and a shaman from the forest of Fin-Din.  He has spent many years wandering the many Oddlands of Wug in search of a forest that he can call his own.  His companion is Ehrenwort, a tree he carries in a sack on his back; Farlaine also talks to Ehrenwort, whom he describes as his “Verdan.”

Published this past September, Farlaine the Goblin, Trade Paperback, Book 4, The Twistlands (landscape dimensions 11.8” x 7.75”) is the most recent release in the series.  As The Twistlands begins, Farlaine only has seven lands left in which to find his own forest.  The story opens with Farlaine and his new friend and companion, “Tink,” of the Tinklands, entering the “Twistlands.”

Farlaine and Tink soon learn just why this place is called the Twistlands; it is full of twisters, and one of them just spirited away Ehrenwort.  With the help of the cute “Twistcatchers,” Farlaine chases the tree-napper, which just so happens to be the most powerful twister in the land, the “Dowager.”  Can this home-seeking tree goblin and Tink and their new companions survive an arduous journey to the domain of this most powerful twister.

After reading Farlaine the Goblin, Trade Paperback, Volume 1, which collects the first three graphic novels in the series, I was surprised that a series this good could not find a publisher, forcing the creator to self-publish it.  After all all, many North American comic book publishers and some book publishers that publish comics claim to want to publish graphic novels for young readers.  The black and white Farlaine the Goblin is so worthy of being published by a big company, one that has major advertising and marketing resources.

This imaginative series, which mixes fantasy with situation comedy, is appropriate for young readers, but does not condescend to them.  The stories are action and adventure-oriented without being explicitly or aggressively violent.  Whatever its magic is, Farlaine the Goblin is appropriate for adult readers; after all, we deserve good comics, too.

In my review of the trade collection, I noted that Anonymous was going to improve in terms of his storytelling, as he was already a strong artist and illustrator.  I see that growth in Farlaine the Goblin, Trade Paperback, Book 4, The Twistlands.  The story is tight and efficient, and this time, the guest stars, the Twistcatchers, are every bit as likable as Farlaine and Tink.  I find these little fellows to be both endearing and fascinating.

Sigh.  I did not want Book 4 to end, which is a feeling that a good comic book should evoke in a reader.  Still, like the best fantasy adventures, Farlaine the Goblin, Trade Paperback, Book 4, The Twistlands is worth another read.  Fantasy readers of every age will want to try the imaginative, all-ages Farlaine the Goblin.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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