Review by Andy Frisk
Jake is a fourth grader who is prone to vivid and excessive daydreaming. He sees dragons, tanks, monsters, incredible lands, and situations that can only be described as fantastic. His sister Ella, the empirical brains of Lumberton Elementary, delights in teasing Jake about his unconscious acting out of his daydreams. Jake climbs bookcases and has “ridden Sam the Janitor in the Kentucky Derby.” Needless to say, Jake is something of an oddity, if not a downright peculiarity. When he learns though that his daydreams aren’t exactly the stuff of pure imagination, and that he might be the last hope for the Waking World against the evil Nocturnus of the Dreaming World, Jake’s world, both dreaming and waking, becomes more interesting and dangerous than he could ever have dreamt.
Radical Publishing’s FCBD 2011 offering is a special sneak preview of the forthcoming “new illustrated novel format” work, Jake the Dreaming. A mixture of both prose and beautifully painted artwork that captures the wild look of the book’s Dreaming World, Jake the Dreaming is something new from the folks at Radical Publishing. Writers and creators Adam Freeman and Marc Bernardin have crafted a tale that promises to appeal to fans of the Harry Potter series, Neil Gaiman’s comics and novels, and nearly every Young Adult fantasy series ever written. Jake the Dreaming isn’t a rip off of any of the aforementioned works though. While it does borrow elements from all three, it looks capable of holding its own, not only amongst these greats, but within this increasingly crowded genre. It’s unique, and could potentially be the start of a new popular series of books staring our hero Jake. There is definitely enough room in the realms of the story’s the Dreaming World for Jake to be involved in an endless string of strange and unique adventures.
Speaking of the strange and the unique, the artwork in Jake the Dreaming is as fantastic as it is mind bending. Artist Andrew Jones, keeping with the painted art look that Radical Publishing’s books have virtually trademarked, creates some wildly appealing and visually striking depictions of Freeman and Bernardin’s words that encapsulate several paragraphs of action in one shot and bring Jake’s adventures in the Dreaming World to beautiful life. Several of these masterpieces could serve as frame worthy pieces that any unique art collector would love to have framed on their walls (I know I would).
Free Comic Book Day is always a great day to visit your local comic shop, but with the addition of Radical Publication’s sneak preview of Jake the Dreaming: An Illustrated Novel, FCBD just got even more worth braving the crowds this year.
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