Friday, December 16, 2016

Two Webcomics: A Redtail's Dream and Anu-Anulan & Yir's Daughter

Today I'm going to do something a little different and review two webcomics that I recently finished. Both are complete stories that combine fantasy and mythology in a unique way, with gorgeous artwork.

A Redtail's Dream

Minna Sundberg
Finnish and English
Completed, 2011-2013
556 pages, fantasy, boy and his dog

When the residents of a village in rural Finland are accidentally sent into the Realm of Dreams (by the Puppy-fox Spirit, who is left in charge while his elders have a meeting), the loner Hannu and his friendly dog Ville must perform tasks to release their friends and neighbors. 

The story is broken into chapters. In each one, Hannu and Ville find themselves in a different part of the realm of dreams, where they must complete a random task to convince the main villager in that area to return home (and take the others with them). Each main villager is accompanied by an ancient animal spirit; Ville, to his delight and sometimes dismay, takes the same form as the animal spirit while they are there. Hence you have a dog that becomes everything from a squirrel to a moose to a seal. 

And did I mention that Ville can talk?

According to everything I have read, this tale draws heavily on Finnish mythology. Puppy-fox is a classic trickster character, Hannu and Ville's tasks feel like something from a folktale, and so on. However, I was unable to find a detailed breakdown of the mythological elements of this work online. Perhaps it is so close to the original tales that it isn't worth analyzing? I would love to read an in-depth article on the similarities and differences to the myths. 

Most importantly, the art of this webcomic is absolutely stunning. It is well worth reading just for the beauty of it. 

Further Reading: 

"Finnish Mythology" by Molly Kalafut
Read The Kalevala from Sacred Texts

Anu-Anulan & Yir's Daughter

Emily Carroll
Completed, 2011
3 pages, fantasy, LGBTQIA+

In this very short comic, the goddess Anu-Anulan requests a woman (Yir's daughter)'s bright, silvery hair. But after she receives it, she realizes something is missing. 

I am not sure if Anu-Anulan is based on any particular deity. Rather, Carroll uses mythlike storytelling to convey a very sweet tale. 

The artwork used for this story is relatively simple, but incredibly expressive. It's only three pages - go read it now! 

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