Sunday, September 16, 2007

TELLOS COLOSSAL: Volume 1



AUTHOR: Todd Dezago
ILLUSTRATOR: Mike Wieringo
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
GENRE: Action/Adventure and Fantasy

FORMAT: Oversized hardcover edition
ISSUES: Prelude, Issues 1-10, and The ScatterJack Story
PAGES: 288 pages
COLOR: Full color
ISBN 13: 978-1-58240-789-0


STORY SYNOPSIS
Young Jarek and his man-tiger friend, Koj, are thrust into a mystery to save the world of Tellos from the malevolent Malesur. A seemingly happy duo, the two realize that they are part of a larger prophecy and must team up with Serra, Hawke and Rikk in order to set things right.


STORY REVIEW
No doubt about it, TELLOS COLOSSAL is a fun, fantasy-filled ride. Complete with mystery and intrigue, the story moves along well with a nice mixture of dialogue and action that will keep most fantasy fans fulfilled. Sometimes the transition between the multiple storylines was awkward, but all in all, it was a good story.


ART REVIEW
Mike Wieringo, who passed away recently, was a well known illustrator – his prowess with the pen is legendary. His drawings in TELLOS are wonderful for several reasons. From panel placement down to the details, Wieringo’s work is telling and true, but it never interferes with the story. The colors are bright and attractive.

The production of this particular edition is very high. The book is oversized, hard bound and the cover is embossed. There are also plenty of sketches and reprints of the original and variant covers.


AGE RECOMMENDATION
My Rating: Teen
Publisher’s Rating: All Ages
All Ages Reads: No Rating
Comics in the Classroom: No Rating

While the publisher rates TELLOS as an all ages book, I disagree. There are some more adult elements, which makes this more appropriate for someone a bit older.


BE AWARE:
Some persons of certain religious beliefs always get upset with magic. Since magic is present I mention it but I am not concerned. There are curse words (damn) and semi-curses (wuss). There is also a dragon who talks like a surfer and smokes a hand-rolled cig pinched between his finger and thumb, which could be easily interpreted as a drug reference. Then there is the leather-clad dominatrix. In the words of writer Todd Dezago himself, printed in the afterword, she is a “gorgeous, yet oh-so-deadly, S&M domme Dyn Jessa! Mrrow!” Mrrow indeed. She is well endowed and nearly naked.


MY RECOMMENDATION FOR THE CLASSROOM:
Not Recommended
Curse words in literature can be defended, even in children’s literature, if they have a reason to be there. We can make the case for magic as well, even though some parents object. A dominatrix, however, is another matter altogether. I can see families freaking out over their children reading TELLOS for no other reason but the sexy leather lady. The schools in my community would not support such things in an elementary classroom. A high school class, maybe, but I still have my doubts.

3 comments:

Jim McClain said...

I'm surprised at your recommendation. This book was far tamer than the last Harry Potter book.

Skipper Pickle said...

Sure, but the last Harry Potter book wasn't intended for all-ages either.

That doesn't mean that it's not a good book. It's just that in recommendations of this sort, you have to take into account a fairly broad range of standards.

Jack said...

You are right, Jim, that the last Harry Potter book was very intense, much more so than the comic TELLOS COLOSSAL. I support the use of the Harry Potter books in the classroom and in public school libraries. I recognize that my support of the series may seem hypocritical considering my recommendations of TELLOS COLOSSAL. Here is my rationale.

The Harry Potter series is accepted as high quality literature by the guardians of the canon of children’s literature, despite the fact that the book has themes of death and sorrow as well as cursing and pseudo-cursing (effing). It is easier to defend books that have objectionable material when the book is accepted as literature. I think there is also an acknowledgement that Harry Potter is a hybrid novel; that is, it is a novel that started out as a piece of pure children’s literature and has transformed into a series for young adults and adults. A literati friend of mine put it like this: Kids should read each novel when they read the same age of Harry. An interesting perspective. I would not read the last HP book to my 7-year-old daughter. That book is better suited for older kids and adults.

Harry Potter is popular enough that parents, students, teachers and librarians can all make educated decisions about how old a person should be to read the series (or a particular book in the series). As we all know, there are some who object wholeheartedly to the series.

TELLOS COLOSSAL, on the other hand is billed as an all-ages story. True, my second grader would not understand the minor drug reference of the dragon, although she would comment about and object to his smoking. I must say that I am not keen on promoting a book that positively over-sexualizes women to students. I have no issues with discussion sexuality with students, but I am not going to suggest hyper-sexuality to my students, unless there is some redeeming value.