Dragon Slayer: The Collected Edition by Devin Kraft

Comic: Dragon Slayer: The Collected Edition
Release date: August 2014
Writer: Devin Kraft
Artist: Devin Kraft, Matthew Warlick and Jake Ekiss
Publisher: Cheshire Cat Art
Cover: red, black and white
Interior: full color
Synopsis: Dragon Slayer follows a ronin, a king, and a dragon as they each seek revenge for their own reasons. 
It takes a man to kill a dragon. What does it take to kill the Dragon Slayer?

The Deal

A long overdue review. I found the TPB edition of the Dragon Slayer series on Kickstarter in 2014. I like to buy trades soI can read the whole story in one go and this one looked like something I'd be interested in. I loved the art and the colors and who can resist dragons, ronins and dragon slayers? The first fully colored version is a limited print run of two hundred and fifty. I opted for the TPB edition because the single issues were in black/white and I love color.

The Feel

The cover is made of strong but bendy paper. It could have benefited from an extra fold at the spine in order to open up better without the reader/collector being afraid to crease the cover or ruining the binding on the inside of the book. It also would have made the foreword easier to read because the lines start very close to the binding. The pages are held together with perfect binding. The inside pages are made of shiny paper stock which enhances the artwork. I also really like the deep rich blackness of the black ink. It gives the art another dimension. 

The Story

The story is a good blend of old and new. In the world of Dragon Slayer guns exist next to swords, battle armor next to tanks and horses next to motorcycles. It's modern and antique at the same time, but different from steampunk. The same holds true for the diction used. Some of it is modern and some from the past, both blended together. I like how it is all incorporated into the story. Much thought has gone into the details and development of this world. The story is about a king who slays a dragon only to find more trouble. He tries to save his village, but some do not agree with his methods. There are three mayor story arcs and they are fully intertwined. 
The story dives straight into action and we learn more about the world and the characters as we read along. I like the straight forwardness, because there's no boring introduction you have to go through in order to get to the good stuff. 

The Look

My opinion of the artwork in this comic differs per page. Some pages are brilliant and some less so. I think it's in the details of the faces. Sometimes they seem a bit off to me. Overall the artwork is genuinely good. The ragged lines and slightly desaturated colors set off against the rich black background color really help set the mood and aid the overall feeling the story tries to convey. The different colors complement each other and the black line art as well. Excellent job from the colorists. 

The Conclusion

This is the first comic book of Devin Kraft that I've read and I have to say I'm impressed. His world-building skills are very good, working out even the small details you may not even notice. He takes you on a ride through his world and it all comes to life. There is no doubt this is all real life as the characters live and see it. I found no inconsistencies in the story and his artwork lifts it to another level.   

How to get a copy?

If you didn't get yours trough Kickstarter then try Devin Kraft's publishing imprint Cheshire Cat Art. This first Kickstarter Edition is limited to two hundred and fifty signed and numbered copies (I own no. 28). You can buy it from the afore mentioned publishing website for 18.78 euro plus shipping. His website also sells other hard and digital copies of comics and prints, for very affordable prices.
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