Monday, July 02, 2012

Namesake: Book 1

And I finally got my copy of Namesake: Book 1 by Isabelle Melancon and Megan Lavey-Heaton.

I got a copy in print and in e-book format because I took part in their Kickstarter fundraiser to get the book printed in a format that wouldn't be too pricey for a customer. And considering they're now selling the book in print for $20 and the e-book for $5, I'm quite satisfied that I got my money's worth.

Namesake is a webcomic that updates one page at a time three times a week at It's picked up quite a fan following, so much that the Kickstarter campaign came only a little over $300 shy of doubling its $7000 goal in one month.

The story tells of Namesakes, people who travel to other words by virtue of their given name.

We meet Emma Crewe, a young woman who's going to pick her sister Elaine up at the library, when she meets a mysterious librarian who is murdered shortly after by a woman who seems to have magic powers. Emma is transported to a land with a road of yellow brick and tiny little people.

Yes, Emma has arrived in Oz, seemingly being the Dorothy expected to come and assist the land. But things aren't as peaceful as they were when L. Frank Baum left Oz, and Emma meets a combination of characters classic and new as they head to the Emerald City.

Meanwhile, back home Emma's friends and family are trying to figure out what happened, with help from an agent from an enigmatic organization called Calliope.

The story of Namesake is far from over, and this book collects the first five chapters and prologue of the webcomic. The story has developed much further since, which I'm sure we'll be able to enjoy in Book 2 when it comes out. There is also a bonus book-exclusive story featuring Emma and her little sister before Emma was taken to Oz.

Megan weaves a delightfully mysterious tale with many twists and turns, and Isabelle's art is amazing. She has a delicate way of putting so much detail into her art that makes it so much fun to look at. If Namesake had been a prose book instead (which I'm sure Megan could have done), we'd be missing a huge dimension of why this is so special.

I also enjoy that the use of color is very subdued and minimal, pages often being in black and white, half-tones, and occasional color accents. There are occasional full color pages. You might think that the presentation would be uneven, but somehow, it works.

The first Namesake book and e-book are available for sale at the online store for their imprint Fairylogue Press. It's definitely a fine piece of work by writer and artist.

Oh, and since I was part of the Kickstarter campaign, I got a special bookplate on the inside front cover of my copy. It went in a little odd, but no worries! It only guaranteed me a little message from Oz!

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