» Blog Archive Buried Treasure: The Raven Banner -
Todd C Matthy Comic Book News, News

One of the best parts of going to conventions is discovering out of print classics. One such classic is “The Raven Banner: A Tale of Asgard”.

Written by Alan Zelentz and illustrated by Charles Vess, “The Raven Banner” was originally published in 1985 as the 15th installment of Marvel’s original graphic novel line. These graphic novels were original works and were published in a storybook sized format, rather then the dimensions of a standard comic book. And the quality showed, especially in “The Raven’s Banner”.As the title states, “The Raven Banner” is a tale of Asgard. The story is about Greyval Grimson, the son of Grim Magnus. Greyval’s family is charged with protecting the Raven Banner of Victory, a magical banner that brings victory to the Asgardian’s in battle against trolls and giants. Without it, Asgard will fall. Unfortunately, the bearer of the manner dies in battle before passing it on to the next of kin. Magnus’s son Greyval does not want the banner, as a matter of fact he was carousing with disguised trolls when his father fell, leaving the Banner to be captured by trolls. After being mocked at his wedding to the Valkyrie Sygnet, Greyval embarks on a quest to not only retrieve the banner but his honor.

“The Raven Banner” is a quest in the grand, traditional sense and there is no artist better suited to conveying its majesty than Charles Vess. Vess’s artwork is something out of a storybook. Smooth lines and lush paintings, Vess’s renditions of Asgard, Balder, and the Valkyries are so good that you hardly notice that Thor is barely in the book. The only flaw I really have with the book is the climax. The book skips too the aftermath rather than showing the act of heroism.

Climax, aside “The Raven Banner” is shining example of how a fantasy comic should be done. With interest in Thor at an all time high, lets hope that Marvel will re-release it soon and hopefully in it’s original format. If you spot this on sale at a convention pick it up.

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