Writer: Eben Burgoon
Illustrator: Dean Beattie
WHAT IS IT?
A bawdy farce of high fantasy satire where Middle-Earth meets McDonald's.
Think Lord of the Rings meets Clerks II.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
The magical kingdom of Kepta Duona is coming apart at the seams thanks to years of war, and the mystical fabric that binds their world together has started to unravel. They save themselves by teleporting to our world, specifically to a truck stop in Santa Queso Blanco that serves fast food to hungry travelers. Unfortunately, our Kepta Duonans are no taller than a french fry but still manage to make a big impact.
Chaos envelops the area when Wendy, the evil daughter of King Karl, wields her magic powers with outrageous consequences. It’s up to the King’s far more demure, and secret, other daughter to go on a quest to find a wizard and try to stop her sister from ruling over everyone in a thoroughly evil way!
Tiny Wizards is a lot of fun. Writer Eben Burgoon introduces us to much death and destruction here, but it’s all done in such a playful, slapstick way that you can't help but laugh. From the unicorn’s butt at the start to an army of tomato sachets to the dopey fry-cooks and order-takers, there’s lots to enjoy here.
Artist Dean Beattie's lines and colours are chaotic and kinetic and bright, usually without being confusing. You know where you are at all times and it draws you right in.
The letters, by Michael Sekigahama, are as unhinged as the story, with characters in random sizes and seemingly jiggling in the air like magical apparitions.
There’s an interesting story being developed concerning a princess whose existence has been kept secret from her evil sibling. For what purpose, we don’t yet know, but it’s an intriguing set-up.
The character design is quite a feat too, with everyone having their own, distinct look. Wendy, the tyrannical sister, is like an evil, pink doll while Junior has her own, golf-attire style, different from her king and his loyal guards. Meanwhile, the humans all look vastly different from each other - unique rather than based on a single model and all the better for it.
The playfulness extends to the back matter too, with a series of well-designed logos, based on well-known food outlets but each with a fantasy twist. Other extras include guest sketches, puzzles and an interactive story newsletter. The credits laid out like a menu is also a lovely touch.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
There’s a lot to take in on each page! You could get lost in all the magic and bolts and sparks flying around if you don’t take care. One double-page fight scene had me staring for ages. Not necessarily a bad thing, but you need to take your time with this one.
Having said that about the art, the story moves fast! Details and motives are whizzed past and you’ll need to catch your breath by the end.
A character dying in a deep fryer was a bit disturbing, but luckily the jaunty air over everything means you don’t linger on this.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Tiny Wizards is a fun fantasy story with a contemporary twist that is genuinely funny, witty and engaging. The story looks like it’s going to be a familiar tale of a family secret and a power struggle, but the tiny characters and fast-food-trapping snake make this a hilarious romp that looks to subvert some of the tropes it’s aiming for.
The art is manic and scattershot and equally funny, which matches the madcap story perfectly. There are copious amounts of backmatter and additional content, like the page of fantasy fast-food logos, which demonstrate that this is a real labour of love for writer Eben Burgoon and artist Dean Beattie. On the subject of the art, it's a frenetic style that melds the Terry Gilliam portions of Monty Python with Mad magazine by way of He-Man and Adventure Time.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Adventure Time with Finn & Jake (2012) by various writers and artists
Steven Universe (2014) by various writers and artists
Howard the Duck (1973) by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik.
If you like the art:
Butcher Baker, The Righteous Maker (2011) by Joe Casey and Mike Huddlestone
Hate (1993) by Pete Bagge
Mysterius: The Unfathomable (2009) by Jeff Parker and Tom Fowler
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Eben Burgoon – Writer
Best known for his indie comics, B-Squad and Eben07: Cover Custodian
In 2018, B-Squad: Soldiers of Misfortune was picked up by animation studio, Starburns Industries, for re-publication and development as an animated series.
Dean Beattie – Artist
Writes poetry as well as writing and illustration.
Live in Kent, England.
Michael Sekigahama – Letterer
Previously worked with Eben on B-Squad: Soldiers of Misfortune.
Hopes to support himself by making his cats social media celebrities.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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