Young Gods & Friends

    (Fantagraphics, 2003)
™ and © 2004 Barry Windsor-Smith

Originally published in Dark Horse’s Barry Windsor-Smith: Storyteller series, “Young Gods” was memorialized as his unfinished symphony, after he pulled the plug on his nine-issue run in 1997. Now, Fantagraphics has resurrected these deities with other previously unpublished installments and assorted sketches in a hardcover edition.

Painting a universe that blends Asgard, Shakespeare, and the Big Apple, Windsor-Smith weaves a tale of the spunky heartbreaker Princess Adastra, who embarks on a dragon hunt with Prince Heros and his sidekick Strangehands. Unfortunately, Heros is also the son of the mighty Otan, the Lord of All-Worlds, and is supposed to marry Adastra’s sister the next day. So, when Heros’ little diversion goes awry, chaos ripples across the realm.

Unfortunately, this fate was shared by Windsor-Smith. Tortured by both genius and the comics industry itself, this star-crossed creator pushed the mainstream conventions of both format (oversized pages) and content (dialogue and nudity). In self-conscious homage to Jack Kirby, Young Gods is a fascinating glimpse at the creative process. Unfortunately, Windsor-Smith’s bitter travails became a cautionary tale for the unsatisfactory compromise between artistic fantasy and commercial reality.

— Oliver Chin

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#1 Hardcover

  10/1/2003
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  Barry Windsor-SmithBarry Windsor-Smith