So I was planning on doing something funny and well-known like xkcd or Questionable Content for my next webcomic post, but one of my favorite storyline comics ended yesterday and I want to commemmorate it now before all my precious feels fade back into “oh, that was a good comic” rather than their current state of “NOOOOOOOOOOO BEST COMIC EVER WHYYY?!”
A Redtail’s Dream wasn’t quite the best comic ever, but it sure was a good one. The basis of the story is that a young man, Hannu, and his dog, Ville, are sent dimensions away from their normal life in a Finnish village when the mischeivous and irresponsible Puppy-Fox, the youngest member of the celestial Fox clan, accidentally lets part of the auroras he is controlling hit their village and catapult the inhabitants across the Birds’ Path and into the realm of dreams. The Fox is unable to free the village from its place stuck inside the dream realms without attracting the attention of his parents, and so he dumps the responsibility of rescuing the villagers onto Hannu and Ville. The two must travel throught the dream realm, persuading the dreaming villagers that they need to get back home before their souls pass on to Tuonela, the land of eternal sleep–a proposition far more difficult that it would seem at first.
Genre: Fantasy/mythological, with mainly Finnish/Swedish mythology
Type: Continuous storyline
Updates: Used to be daily, Monday-Saturday, but is now complete
Began: late 2011
Number of Comics: 556
In Print: Nope, but the artist is thinking about it!
A Redtail’s Dream is well-drawn, well-plotted, funny, and heartwarming–everything that I look for in a storyline comic. Ville, the dog, turns out to be a more likeable character than his human; he is optimistic, friendly, and responsible where Hannu is grumpy and uncaring. Ville becomes far more than just a dog in the dream realms: not only can he talk, but he transforms into a different animal with every part of the realm the pair travels to. The real talent of Minna Sundberg, the artist, however, is that she manages to keep Ville’s essential dog-ness visible in his character design as well has his speech and actions. This occasionally looks very odd, such as when Ville becomes a snake for a chapter:
The look into Finnish mythology is fascinating as well. The characters go from place to place in the dream realms, encountering a whole host of mythical creatures along their way–a giant pike and a killer moose-construct among them–before meeting with some legends that become characters in their own right, like Kokko, the powerful Raven who helps Hannu and Ville on their quests, and the Swan who guards the souls in Tuonela, the land of eternal sleep, who refuses to let Hannu leave his realm and return to life.
What I love most about this comic, though, besides the wonderful characters, interesting storyline, and beautiful art, is the fact that this artist started it as a practice comic. She only expected it to be 150 pages or so and instead is ending at over 500! Watching her style grow and develop over the course of the comic is a pleasure and a gift, and I can’t wait to start reading her next comic, Stand Still, Stay Silent, when she begins posting it in the next few days. Until then, though, I suppose I’ll just have to stick with rereading A Redtail’s Dream. That’s the nice thing about completed comics–as much of a tragedy as it is when they’re over, the change from ongoing story to completed work lets you read them again and again without having to worry about what happens next.
So what are you waiting for? Go get started!