Siegfried Vol. 1, 2012
Nico here. As a participant in the Graphic Novel Reading Group at Politics & Prose Bookstore, I read at least one graphic novel per month. Mr. Struggan has invited me to share my criticism of this month’s selected reading here.
Alex Alice’s Siegfried is the first volume of a three part adaptation of German composer Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle, a pretty grand story to be condensed into 50 pages of comics. Alice weaves the origin-story of Siegfried, a boy who is friends with wolves, raised by an outcast and whose mother was a goddess. Pretty epic.
Unsurprisingly, Alice’s art is heavily french-influenced, from the looks of characters to unabashedly cinematic paneling, even to the innocent, hopeful tone of the story. His warm, romantic style is evocative of late ’70s heavy metal, The Legend of Zelda, and the art of Disney animated films, an influence the artist credits.
It’s a beautiful book. Alice deftly mixes hand-drawn and computer-generated illustration to create evocatively, detailed panels. As good as the graphics are, the quality of the materials used in printing made a huge difference. With a hard cover and glossy pages, no expense was spared.
As strong as the work is, Siegfried may be a little too psyched about itself. Over 60 pages of an interview with Alex Alice and preliminary sketches are nice, but unwarranted. I might expect these extras in a reprint, but not a first edition. As nice as they are, I’d prefer the first edition to let the work speak for itself. That said, it’s a great change of pace from diaristic indie comics and more familiar American comic books.
Mr. Struggan sends his High Regards.