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Writer: James Kniseley

Artist: House of Imagi

Publisher: Self-published

Paladins, issue #1, cover, self-published, Kniseley/House of Imagi
Paladins, issue #1, cover, self-published, Kniseley/House of Imagi


The first, 80-page (cover to cover) issue in a manga-inspired modern fantasy series.

It definitely feels influenced by magical girl anime, like Sailor Moon, and other similar stories where regular people get extraordinary powers and weapons, like Ronin Warriors. It does feel a bit brighter than those, however.


(Minor Spoilers)

Trent and his twin brother, Taylor, are in high school. They've inherited the power of the Paladins, and they must use it to fight powerful villains from a world similar to our own.

But they'll need help! There are 10 Paladins in all, and they may have already met one of them. But how can they find the rest? And how can they find out more about their strange, new powers and the daunting task before them?


  • The world of Paladins is bright and jubilant, a pleasant change from other popular manga stories

  • James Kniseley has created characters that are lovable and make me want to learn more about them – even the antagonists feel nuanced, like they're antagonists out of necessity rather than evil

  • Seeing the Paladins named after planets or other characters named after stones or minerals feels very Sailor Moon

  • Hinting at other paladins existing makes you want to keep reading to find out who they are and what their powers will be

  • There's a good balance between action and character development

  • The art from House of Imagi is fun and emotive, often taking liberties with the more realistic style to lean hard on the more creative aspects you might see in anime (for example, a character counts off 3 reasons for something later in the issue, and interacts with the actual numerals in the panel)

  • I especially love when House of Imagi shows characters as kids – not only does it show their childish reactions to something, but it also is a smart way of showing how long the characters have known each other and further defines their relationship

  • Word balloon style flourishes are fun and varied

  • The sound effects are small, handwritten and subtle, but it works well with the art

  • There are seeds planted early in the issue for a big joke payoff several page slater, and it's great seeing that come to fruition


  • It might be the manga style (I'm no expert in manga) but it seems like there's way too much air in the balloons, and often, dialogue balloon tails aren't there or are too thin to see properly

  • No interior color, if that bothers you

  • The brothers seem not even to be that surprised by their new powers or outfits – I would've loved to see a bigger deal made, similar to the small montage for costume changes in magical girl TV shows

Paladins, issue #1, page 5, self-published, Kniseley/House of Imagi
Paladins, issue #1, cover, self-published, Kniseley/House of Imagi


Paladins hits all the best manga and anime buttons for me: powers gifted to normal people, a mysterious evil, future teammates to be discovered along the way...I can't wait to read more!


If you like the writing:

  • Saint Seiya by Masami Kurumada

  • Monstress, Vol. 1 by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda

  • R:ILPERSONA by The Starlight City Project & JM Valenzuela

If you like the art:

  • Soul Anomaly by Cud-B-Better & House of Imagi

  • KNIGHT: The Wandering Stars #0 by The Starlight City Project & Skill3 Studio

  • Wayward, Vol. 1 by Jim Zub & Steve Cummings


James Kniseley – Writer

  • Multitalented: Also writes comic book reviews, prose stories and teaches pre-school

  • Based each arc of Paladins on the 7 Deadly Sins, and many of the characters are named after James and his friends

  • Inspired heavily by Sailor Moon, Saint Seiya, and Tales of Symphonia, Abyss, and Xillia

House of Imagi – Artist

  • A design studio, potentially out of Indonesia, who often works with artists on comics with a more manga style


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The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.

All James Kniseley characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright James Kniseley or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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