Comic Recommendation: Beanstalked by Sierra Ray
Happy Father's Day everybody! Antoni here, and I got something special to all the dads out there.
If there are some things I love so much in my childhood, which hold up so well to this day, then they have to be fairy tales, mythology, and comics. As a child, these were my major sources of imagination, wonder, and creativity. Nowadays, as a grown-up, I still love these to this day because there are some elements which can thrill, frighten, excite, make one laugh, make one cry, make one empathize, and emit a whole gamut of emotions. It is also no wonder why I hold these in such high regard because a lot of the television shows I watch whether it's anime or western animation or live-action, there are some elements of fairy tales and myths on these installments and I jump with glee when I spot the references. On top of that, I consider them to be an art because of the imagination that can spark anyone's mind, plus take one into worlds unknown and be filled with anticipation and excitement.
Enter Beanstalked created by Sierra Ray, known in Deviantart as PockyBloo, beginning in 2015. She not only wrote the story but she also illustrated the characters and the settings. I stumbled upon this webcomic on Deviantart last year as summer break was about to start. I was completely intrigued by the characters, the designs, and even their personalities. From that moment on, I became more curious about this webcomic. Just a few days ago I began reading it and I instantly fell in love with this!
The story basically revolves around Jack Asesino, who of course is based on Jack and the Beanstalk. It starts off with the usual fare of Jack taking the cow to be sold off, only to encounter a mysterious woman, who is the Enchantress of the Moon, who tells him of his fate as a fairy tale warrior, who bears special powers and weapons known as Märchen, the German word for of course, fairy tale. This prophecy befuddles Jack and that's all I'm going to tell from here because you might as well read further what happens next. I find the entire story to be very intriguing with the right amount of adventurous tension and thrills, marvelous fantasy elements, and some comedy to balance things out. Keep in mind that there is some profanity being used here and there, especially coming from one of the characters who I will talk about a bit later. So, don't be fooled by its family friendly like appearance as there is also a fair amount of bloodshed present, but only in reasonable doses. However, for those who can tolerate a few swear words and some violence, then this is for you. Additionally, the story does contain elements of the chosen one trope, a ragtag team of fairy tale characters interacting with each other, power-ups typical in a lot of shounen anime like Bleach, Dragon Ball Z, InuYasha, Naruto, and One Piece, and elements of magical girl transformations like in Sailor Moon or Madoka Magica, complete with the characters bearing special weapons and powers in combat. However, what makes this webcomic stand out is its heart is in the right place and it's a character-driven story where one does feel for characters like Jack and many others, plus one would want them to develop. Overall, despite some familiar elements found many installments, the writing is solid, charming, breathtaking, and leaves one with a lot of anticipation for what comes next.
The art style is very appealing to look at. Clearly, it is inspired by manga and anime from the facial expressions, to the exaggerations, and to the overall look and feel of this webcomic. It's well-detailed, colorful, and gorgeous. The noticeable area where the art truly stands out is when the characters summon up their chosen Märchen, providing the readers with a visual and stylistic orgasm, so to say, as there is a certain brilliance, which leaves them in complete awe.
The characters are wonderfully likable. Jack believes himself to be a normal farm boy until he meets Moon, who tells him of his prophecy as a fairy tale. He is at first incredulous at this until that fateful moment where he is at the beanstalk does his destiny come true. He can be a slacker and a bit goofy in his actions, but his heart is always in the right place and is very loyal and caring to the people who matter most to him. Pinokuni, based on Pinocchio, is the first ally Jack meets during his trek to the beanstalk. He is crass, unafraid to speak his mind, swears a lot with the use of the F-bomb and even calling Jack Jackass, and is the total opposite to Jack's all around good guy nature. Despite his rude attitude, he does have a soft side to him and the banter between him and Jack is a lot of fun to witness because of how they bounce off of each other. Much of Moon's character is shrouded in mystery but is nonetheless quite fascinating. There are also other characters who are equally as likable like Beast, the tall, dark, muscular prince with a heart of gold and is based on the Beast from Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, the cool big sis badass strategist, Raiponce, the book-smart brain who is curious about the world around her, Ashe, the tough pyromancer, Nalja, the blind half werewolf girl who possesses great strength, and even Goldi, the Seven Little Kids, Gero, Henny Penny, Hazel, and Kettle.
Overall, I highly recommend this webcomic to anyone who is a literature and mythology fan or even anyone who is avid about comics. It has lovable characters, great writing, and a lovely art style that I am willing to give this 5 magical weapons out of 5. This is a definite gateway drug for me when it comes to great webcomics and Dads, you owe it to yourselves to introduce this one to your kids. Keep in mind that this comic is updated every two weeks, so a little bit of patience will be required to fully enjoy it. However, what you get here is absolutely breathtaking.
Well, that's all for now, and I hope to see you all next weekend for my review of Modest Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov starring Ain Anger and Verdi's Don Carlo starring Liudmyla Monastryrska as Elisabetta and Jamie Barton as Eboli at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Until then, good night everybody and I hope you had an amazing Father's Day.
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