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Friday, November 14, 2008

"Soul Stealer" by Michael Easton & Christopher Shy (Reviewed by Robert Thompson)

Read Newsarama’s Interview with Michael Easton

ABOUT SOUL STEALER: In a universe divided by good and evil, one man has been able to sustain life for over 3000 years, driven solely by the power of undying love. Armed with the ability to bring back souls from the underworld, he must now fight the most dangerous and potent forces the world has ever known, as he wanders the Earth—through the past and into the future—on his near-impossible search for his wife.

A shocking and breathtaking journey through darkness, madness, and ultimately hope, “Soul Stealer” explores a vivid, remarkably unique world drawn from the deepest recesses of human imagination…

CLASSIFICATION: A blend of gothic fantasy and horror, mythology and a tragic love story, “Soul Stealer” is a dark, haunting and atmospheric reading experience that brought to mind everything from The Crow film/comic books to the first Highlander movie, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Guillermo del Toro’s wonderful adult fairy tale Pan’s Labyrinth, and the wicked imaginations of Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman. Words however, cannot really describe “Soul Stealer” . . . it needs to be experienced on its own to be fully appreciated…

FORMAT/INFO:Soul Stealer” is 148 pages long and is the first book of a series. This one is titled “The Beaten and the Damned” and includes an introduction by novelist
Peter Straub (The Talisman, Ghost Story). June 1, 2008 marks the publication of “Soul Stealer” via DMF Comics and is available in two formats: a Hardcover Edition and a Softcover Edition. The second “Soul Stealer” book, titled “Blood and Rain”, will be released in 2009.

ANALYSIS: Before this past October, I had never heard of Michael Easton—neither the actor nor the writer—but thanks to an
Interview conducted by Newsarama, I was brought to the attention of Michael’s utterly captivating graphic novel, “Soul Stealer”…

First and foremost, the artwork by Christopher Shy is just breathtaking. Now, I could get all analytical here examining the color scheme, the Photoshop techniques, influences and various other nuances, but instead I’ll let the images included in this review speak for themselves. Simply put, the artwork in “Soul Stealer” is absolutely gorgeous, full of evocative surrealism and ambiance, and is worth the cover price all by itself.

Of course, “Soul Stealerdoes have a story, which revolves around lovers Kalan and Oxania; Oxania’s eccentric father Strabo; gods and goddesses (Osiris, Azrael, Annubis, Seth); a ruthless warlord named Apis Bull; and a tragic love story that transcends time and distance and death. Now at first, I thought the plot was a bit thin and overly familiar—Michael utilizes a number of recognizable tropes like immortality, resurrection, meddling gods, the tragic love story, good vs. evil, etc—but a second read through made me realize how much I missed the first time around, and how well executed the storyline was, in particular the non-linear narrative. Granted, parts of the story were a bit sparse like how Kalan & Oxania met, the mysterious Strabo, Apis Bull’s background, and Kalan’s soul stealing ability, but I understand that only so much can be fit into a 148-page graphic novel. Thankfully, what the story may have lacked in depth or originality was more than made up for with Michael’s poetic prose which beautifully accentuated Christopher’s artwork:

This body contains the story of my time…
…the life is not mine.
Nor are the pieces.
But the evidence of my soul can never be taken…
It lives with her.

CONCLUSION: Michael Easton’sSoul Stealer” is a prime example of what can happen when great art and great storytelling is combined with a fertile imagination and unbridled passion. A simply magical experience, “Soul Stealer” will make readers look at graphic novels in a whole new light...


Michael Easton is best known as an actor having appeared on such television shows as Port Charles, VR.5, Two, Ally McBeal, Total Recall 2070, Mutant X and One Life To Live, but he is also a member of the
Writer's Guild of America and has written a highly acclaimed collection of poetry titled “Eighteen Straight Whiskeys”, a screenplay based on the life of Montgomery Clift, and the graphic novel “Soul Stealer”. Upcoming projects include “Tales of the Green Woman” graphic novel (DC/Vertigo) co-written with novelist Peter Straub (The Talisman, Ghost Story) and a sequel to “Soul Stealer” called “Blood and Rain” (2009).

Artist Christopher Shy is the founder of
Studio Ronin, which has provided illustrations for numerous graphic novels (Ascend, Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, White Wolf) as well as set designs for concerts (Coheed & Cambria) and films (Pathfinder). Recent graphic novel releases include “Soul Stealer” and “Silent Leaves: Exceptions to Life”.


Karen Mahoney said...

Wow, sold! I have to get this. Right Now. :)

Robert said...

You won't be disappointed :D

Liz said...

Must. Have. It. All. So. Pretty.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to get it toom but as others will find, does not even have it in stock, and there are no used sellers for the book there either. Shoudl be readily available no?


Mihai A. said...

Well, I added this to my "Must Buy" list. It looks like lately there are a lot of graphic novels on that list :)
Very nice review, Robert ;)

Anonymous said...

Not available at Amazon -- but the link is posted above.

Don't let a little thing like Amazon not carrying it stop you from enjoying/appreciating this fabulous graphic novel.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read this novel yet, but plan to - thanks for all the input on it. I have read Michael's poetry and found it amazing...

Anonymous said...

This is a Great Book...and the art work is beautiful!!! You will be very happy with the purchase!!! I cant wait for the second!!!!


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