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Modern Fantasy, Volume 1

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In the city of God's Helm, built ages ago under the shadow of the crystalline Sky Castle, Humans and Orcs have terrible Tinder hookups, Beholders and Gelatinous Cubes run Fortune 500 companies, and New Wave Dwarves wait tables at trendy Hobgoblin bistros. A young Ranger woman who came to the city with dreams of adventure, her drug dealing reptilian wizard roommate, and her In the city of God's Helm, built ages ago under the shadow of the crystalline Sky Castle, Humans and Orcs have terrible Tinder hookups, Beholders and Gelatinous Cubes run Fortune 500 companies, and New Wave Dwarves wait tables at trendy Hobgoblin bistros. A young Ranger woman who came to the city with dreams of adventure, her drug dealing reptilian wizard roommate, and her boisterous Dwarf maiden BFF embark on a modern day quest to save the world while struggling to keep their crappy day jobs and pay off their student loans. They are joined in this quest by a thief (a half-Goblin sleazeball and the wizard's boyfriend), an elf (the hot actor-wannabe currently working as a waiter), a cleric (the cute guy from down the hall and the dwarf's occasional hook-up), and a barbarian (the religious fanatic who works in the cubicle next to the ranger). Collects Modern Fantasy Issues #1-4 as well as a bonus sketchbook selection!


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In the city of God's Helm, built ages ago under the shadow of the crystalline Sky Castle, Humans and Orcs have terrible Tinder hookups, Beholders and Gelatinous Cubes run Fortune 500 companies, and New Wave Dwarves wait tables at trendy Hobgoblin bistros. A young Ranger woman who came to the city with dreams of adventure, her drug dealing reptilian wizard roommate, and her In the city of God's Helm, built ages ago under the shadow of the crystalline Sky Castle, Humans and Orcs have terrible Tinder hookups, Beholders and Gelatinous Cubes run Fortune 500 companies, and New Wave Dwarves wait tables at trendy Hobgoblin bistros. A young Ranger woman who came to the city with dreams of adventure, her drug dealing reptilian wizard roommate, and her boisterous Dwarf maiden BFF embark on a modern day quest to save the world while struggling to keep their crappy day jobs and pay off their student loans. They are joined in this quest by a thief (a half-Goblin sleazeball and the wizard's boyfriend), an elf (the hot actor-wannabe currently working as a waiter), a cleric (the cute guy from down the hall and the dwarf's occasional hook-up), and a barbarian (the religious fanatic who works in the cubicle next to the ranger). Collects Modern Fantasy Issues #1-4 as well as a bonus sketchbook selection!

30 review for Modern Fantasy, Volume 1

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kelcy

    Okay, I loved this. It wasn't even that the story was that in-depth but I was so amused and smiling the entire time... so for that, I am giving it 5: for sheer enjoyment.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Václav

    (3,3 of 5 for this Dark Horse published webcomics-ish modern world fantasy) I like the modern world & fantasy/magic mashups. Even this kind of "high fantasy" ones. But they are always preferred by third or fewer grade authors. So they usually have good ideas, recentish pop culture references but lack of "craftmanship". And Modern Fantasy is no exception. The story is simple, a bunch of young people with low social status and skills mingled into something bigger than them and they end trying to "s (3,3 of 5 for this Dark Horse published webcomics-ish modern world fantasy) I like the modern world & fantasy/magic mashups. Even this kind of "high fantasy" ones. But they are always preferred by third or fewer grade authors. So they usually have good ideas, recentish pop culture references but lack of "craftmanship". And Modern Fantasy is no exception. The story is simple, a bunch of young people with low social status and skills mingled into something bigger than them and they end trying to "save the city". It is cheap and unpolished, characters suck and art doesn't help. Its quality resembles every other amateurish webcomic. It's simplistic (sometimes very simplistic) and there is no real finesse to it. And this stuff is published by THE Dark Horse. It leaves me wondering. On the other side, it's pretty fun. Very light, simple, sitcom humour and lots of fantasy references (some of them pretty fresh, we even get a cameo of the main cop duo from the Bright). So I kind of enjoyed the reading thanks to all those references and a bit of humour. But I can hardly recommend to anyone. You're on your own here.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dakota Morgan

    Modern Fantasy is a moderately humorous spin on a low-impact D&D campaign - what if orcs and elves and stuff lived in the modern world? But like, they still got hold of a crazy powerful amulet that could summon a fire demon? The characters are generically amusing and the many callbacks to other fantasy worlds make for nice easter eggs (I especially enjoyed seeing Will Smith and the blue orc from that one Netflix movie I never watched). The art is crummy but serviceable considering the needs of t Modern Fantasy is a moderately humorous spin on a low-impact D&D campaign - what if orcs and elves and stuff lived in the modern world? But like, they still got hold of a crazy powerful amulet that could summon a fire demon? The characters are generically amusing and the many callbacks to other fantasy worlds make for nice easter eggs (I especially enjoyed seeing Will Smith and the blue orc from that one Netflix movie I never watched). The art is crummy but serviceable considering the needs of the story. Overall, Modern Fantasy is enjoyable and forgettable.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Deckard Ra

    Do you love Dungeons & Dragons? Do you love alternate reality stories? Do you love comics? If you answered yes to all three questions, you have to read this book. The art is good, the characters struggle with life like us, the plot doesn't make them mary-sue from the start, the jokes are found on details instead, and have I mentioned Dungeons & Dragons yet? I did? Oh, my bad. Do you love Dungeons & Dragons? Do you love alternate reality stories? Do you love comics? If you answered yes to all three questions, you have to read this book. The art is good, the characters struggle with life like us, the plot doesn't make them mary-sue from the start, the jokes are found on details instead, and have I mentioned Dungeons & Dragons yet? I did? Oh, my bad.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    A fun, funny, and ridiculous story that was right up my alley.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Opal

    This book grabbed my attention because of the mixture of the modern setting with the fantasy characters--I am a big fan of fantasy in general, but I've never really seen a "modernized" take on fantasy before, unless, possibly, you count the likes of Star Wars (since it sort of blends magic/the force with technology). Even still, the reason I actually bought it was for the lizard guy on the front. Shallow? Yes. But I am glad I did. For starters, the art: It has a sort of "sloppy" charm to it. It's This book grabbed my attention because of the mixture of the modern setting with the fantasy characters--I am a big fan of fantasy in general, but I've never really seen a "modernized" take on fantasy before, unless, possibly, you count the likes of Star Wars (since it sort of blends magic/the force with technology). Even still, the reason I actually bought it was for the lizard guy on the front. Shallow? Yes. But I am glad I did. For starters, the art: It has a sort of "sloppy" charm to it. It's clear the artist can draw really well--the backgrounds show a good handle on linear perspective and the anatomy for the characters is competent. However, at points it seems almost as if the style of the characters changes at random, as though more (or less) effort was put into drawing the face in one panel than other panels. In the sillier moments, the characters are drawn almost haphazardly. It doesn't detract from the story, but it is noticeable. That said, this generally acts as a visual cue about the current level of seriousness in the story. The black line-art mixed with the relatively simple colors create a "childish" looking style that matches the overall tone the comic is aiming for, which is a silly young adult adventure. In case it's not clear: I really love the art. It's often quite adorable, particularly with the character designs (I am in love with Gondra, what a cutie!), though I am not always a fan of the "haphazard" look. Also: all the little jokes written in the background, on coffee cups, on billboards, etc., makes every page extra fun. It's worth it to examine each panel carefully for these. I am such a sucker for this kind of thing, and I would recommend this comic for the background jokes alone. The characters: The best part about the story. They are mostly relatable, if you are also still struggling to find your calling in life, maybe wishing for that same excitement and adventure you would find in a fantasy novel. I think the main character Sage is probably the most relatable in the way I described above. The others do not get as much development, since we do not get as much of their backgrounds as we do hers. However, we get a lot of their individual personalities as the story progresses, so I find myself liking them quite a lot. They have strong personalities, so the lack of actual background we get for them is made up mostly by getting to see their interactions with each other and their reactions to the events. Bock-Darr is a good example of this: we may know next to nothing about him, but he is probably the most entertaining to actually see onscreen. That said, I feel like the romantic relationships, with the exception of Lizard Wizard and Fen (who start off as a couple), either move too fast or weren't developed enough onscreen. Two couples just get together, and that's that. I would have liked more reasons for them to be getting together, but then, for the dwarf (Gondra) and her boyfriend, it's sort of like a continuous booty call that became a serious relationship? As a reader, I feel like the development sorta happened before I got there, and I am seeing "the next step," which is a little alienating. At the very least, they have very adorable couple interactions, which makes up for it a little bit. (Spoilers for the main character are hidden.) (view spoiler)[The main character also ends up with a boyfriend that she's had a crush on, but didn't really know well, and sleeps with him the second they find out they both like each other. That's far too fast for my tastes, particularly since I feel he was the least developed of the main cast, but since Gondra had quick hook-ups, I guess that's just the way these characters are with their relationships? Eh, maybe I'm just too old to relate to that kind of thing. (hide spoiler)] The relationship that gets the most development is Lizard Wizard and Fen, who are a gay couple. They have their problems, which you see in the beginning and which kind of starts the plot off, but they ultimately show a lot of love towards one another that makes you feel that they really do belong together. It was really nice to see this, because they're not just there as the "token gay couple," but have a more-or-less meaningful relationship. One main problem I have with the characters, however, is their frequent drug use. It makes me uncomfortable, and it feels like it's the only reason this comic has the 15+ age rating. I mean, there is some violence and sexual themes, but the most you see is kissing and implications that sex happened offscreen. Probably more of a personal gripe, but hey, it's my review, and I think it should be mentioned, since my copy (digital version) doesn't say the reasons for its rating. To be fair, knowing drugs were involved wouldn't have prevented me from buying the comic, but it did come as a bit of a shock to see the characters suddenly start doing drugs considering the art style. The story/plot: I feel like it's your standard fare: the main heroes are the only ones able to stop the bad guy from doing things, and they can't call the cops (view spoiler)[except they totally could have/should have to stop the cult in the mall, since the business owner guy was no longer involved (hide spoiler)] . I don't want to go too deep into it, because it's not very complicated and serves as a vessel to get the characters to have the adventure they always wanted. It works for the comic; it wraps up nicely while leaving itself open for more adventures with the cast. Overall: I really enjoyed this comic. It was cute and fun, but nothing serious or deep. The characters are mostly relatable, and the art is nice, with the background jokes adding a layer of enjoyment for people who like other fantasy titles (particularly Lord of the Rings). I would recommend it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Pop Bop

    Lord of the Friends of the Office Space The book description had me at "dwarf maiden BFF" and "barbarian cubicle neighbor", but it turns out that this book is much more than its blurbs and descriptions let on. (I didn't make the connection, early on, that the author, Rafer Roberts, is responsible for some of the best Valiant "Archer & Armstrong" books, or I would have been even more psyched.) The setup is that we have a varied crew of creatures, (human, dwarf, elf, lizard, and so on), living the l Lord of the Friends of the Office Space The book description had me at "dwarf maiden BFF" and "barbarian cubicle neighbor", but it turns out that this book is much more than its blurbs and descriptions let on. (I didn't make the connection, early on, that the author, Rafer Roberts, is responsible for some of the best Valiant "Archer & Armstrong" books, or I would have been even more psyched.) The setup is that we have a varied crew of creatures, (human, dwarf, elf, lizard, and so on), living the lives of semi-aimless twenty-somethings. So it's an office/work, relationship, making the rent, drink/drugs, where-am-I-going? drama/comedy, with the emphasis on comedy. But it is distinguished in two ways. First, it benefits from a lot of clever bits of deadpan dialogue, throwaway observations, and astute insights into that twenty-something situation. This is more rueful than angsty. Second, by Issue #2, (this volume collects the first four issues of the series), it turns into an adventure-quest involving all of the characters we met in Issue #1, and so it turns into not just a generation comedy but also a fantasy quest adventure comedy. That title, "Modern Fantasy" is more on spot than I imagined. Our lead character, Sage, is the most normal and grounded of the characters, so you get that classic "normal surrounded by nutty characters" structure, but I think that's fine, (and it always worked for Mary Tyler Moore). Each other character gets to have his, her, or its moment, so there is a lot going on. They are all good with a quip, a deadpan throwaway, or sometimes an edgy burn, and that keeps the energy and the interest level consistently high. The artwork didn't strike me as particularly exciting at first, but it didn't detract from the storytelling. And you did always know what was going on. As the book went on I got more comfortable with the drawing and thought the characters became more distinct and expressive. Because the drawing is more impressionistic than realistic this is probably just one of those volumes where you have to settle in and get used to the artist's vision and style. So, this was an entertaining and engaging find, with decent characters, an interesting story, and some good lines and clever bits. That worked for me. (Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-x-days Adobe Digital copy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Emma Gear

    Modern Fantasy is a mini-series with a premise I loved but feel like it sort of fell flat on execution. Various fantasy tropes are real in this universe! Wizards, trolls, thieves, rangers, barbarians etc are just all happily co-existing in the equivalent of modern reality. Of course, the modern world is anything but fantastical meaning so main character Sage, a ranger, works a data entry job inside of a cubicle all day. Longing for adventure she manages to come across it when her shitty roommate Modern Fantasy is a mini-series with a premise I loved but feel like it sort of fell flat on execution. Various fantasy tropes are real in this universe! Wizards, trolls, thieves, rangers, barbarians etc are just all happily co-existing in the equivalent of modern reality. Of course, the modern world is anything but fantastical meaning so main character Sage, a ranger, works a data entry job inside of a cubicle all day. Longing for adventure she manages to come across it when her shitty roommate's shitty boyfriend steals something he probably shouldn't, and has to come to the realization that maybe adventure isn't all its cracked up to be. You know, because of the danger involved. Modern Fantasy is a series that gripped me immediately with its premise, but I just didn't find myself enjoying all that much. Its four issues are broken up into two main segments and while I found the first fun and entertaining and dramatic, the second kind of fell apart for me save for the grand finale. Kristen Gudsnuk's art is wonderful throughout and remains a high point regardless. Definitely check out Henchgirl if you like the art as much as I did!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Peterhans

    Read this as 4 seperate issues. Not a huge fan of this series, I'm afraid - to me it feels like an interesting idea that quickly succumbs to an inordinate amount of twee- and cuteness. The world feels underdeveloped and therefore underused, the fantasy tropes a thin layer over a basic mystery story. The characters also feel underdeveloped, which is a shame because the basic trio (Sage, Gondra and Lizard Wizard) are fun characters. That said, after a while they did come across to me as a little cli Read this as 4 seperate issues. Not a huge fan of this series, I'm afraid - to me it feels like an interesting idea that quickly succumbs to an inordinate amount of twee- and cuteness. The world feels underdeveloped and therefore underused, the fantasy tropes a thin layer over a basic mystery story. The characters also feel underdeveloped, which is a shame because the basic trio (Sage, Gondra and Lizard Wizard) are fun characters. That said, after a while they did come across to me as a little clique of friends who think they're just the funniest and the cutest, while being quick to judge people outside their circle. They became kind of unpleasant. I liked the art, although it's quite spotty in places, regularly dipping to an amateurish level, even.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Williams

    If you liked the new Matt Groening series Disenchantment you will most likely love Modern Fantasy. It is similar to the show in that it is filled with all sorts of creatures associated with Fantasy, but the setting is more modern, and there is definitely and the mundane aspects of modern life encroach upon the quest portion of the story. The art by Kristen Gudsnuk is beautiful and cartoony in a Scott Pilgrimish way, and the author Rafer Roberts knows how to lace the jokes through the story, keep If you liked the new Matt Groening series Disenchantment you will most likely love Modern Fantasy. It is similar to the show in that it is filled with all sorts of creatures associated with Fantasy, but the setting is more modern, and there is definitely and the mundane aspects of modern life encroach upon the quest portion of the story. The art by Kristen Gudsnuk is beautiful and cartoony in a Scott Pilgrimish way, and the author Rafer Roberts knows how to lace the jokes through the story, keeping a smile on your face for the duration of the volume. If you enjoy this, definetly checkout Grumble, also written by Roberts.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    More like 3.5. One of Paste Magazine's "15 Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comics of 2018" (#15). The story was amusing enough and I think I'd be willing to read more about these characters. It is very YA (and the violence level is closer to 'tween IMO). The art's okay, although I occasionally found it confusing (but that may have been because I was reading digital on a laptop). It's really not important but I thought the lead character in particular looked like someone from Doonesbury so definitely not a More like 3.5. One of Paste Magazine's "15 Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comics of 2018" (#15). The story was amusing enough and I think I'd be willing to read more about these characters. It is very YA (and the violence level is closer to 'tween IMO). The art's okay, although I occasionally found it confusing (but that may have been because I was reading digital on a laptop). It's really not important but I thought the lead character in particular looked like someone from Doonesbury so definitely not a realistic look.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    Silly and entertaining but I had expected more from it than just a D&D campaign mashed up with LotR stereotypes and parodies set in a modern workplace. I wish it had a sequel or had been set as a series, which would've allowed more time to build the scene and improve upon the characters past their stat-sheet descriptions. Drawing style was cute but didn't seem to fit the story (a bit too simplistic maybe? Not sure). But yes, it was a fun read! Too bad the team didn't really use any of Sir Terry Silly and entertaining but I had expected more from it than just a D&D campaign mashed up with LotR stereotypes and parodies set in a modern workplace. I wish it had a sequel or had been set as a series, which would've allowed more time to build the scene and improve upon the characters past their stat-sheet descriptions. Drawing style was cute but didn't seem to fit the story (a bit too simplistic maybe? Not sure). But yes, it was a fun read! Too bad the team didn't really use any of Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld topics...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

    I really wanted to like this. But after the first quarter of it, I decided to take a break. I wanted to see if I would be interested enough in it later on to return to it and see what happens. Something about the humor just didn't do it for me. There was just enough to be distracting from the story but not enough to be particularly funny. It felt like I couldn't get into the world because, for instance, every other store or sign had a goofy (and/or topical) pun, and it was pretty annoying. So, af I really wanted to like this. But after the first quarter of it, I decided to take a break. I wanted to see if I would be interested enough in it later on to return to it and see what happens. Something about the humor just didn't do it for me. There was just enough to be distracting from the story but not enough to be particularly funny. It felt like I couldn't get into the world because, for instance, every other store or sign had a goofy (and/or topical) pun, and it was pretty annoying. So, after a few weeks I didn't pick it up again and now it's back at the ole' library.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    This is a fun adventure about fantasy characters like elves and dwarves living in a modern world quite similar to ours. I enjoyed the storyline and the world it was set in, but the characters could have had a bit more depth. Overall though, the book was still a lot of fun to read. [Free ARC from Edelweiss+]

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    A PG rated version of Megahex. The 'D&D in the real world' parts are fun, and I would have loved a whole book of it, but the story gets hijacked by a more traditional fantasy narrative. A PG rated version of Megahex. The 'D&D in the real world' parts are fun, and I would have loved a whole book of it, but the story gets hijacked by a more traditional fantasy narrative.

  16. 5 out of 5

    C. S.

    A lot of the humor in this one didn't quite land for me (funnily enough in the same way the humor in Aggretsuko totally missed me and just made me depressed and angry), and although the artwork was funny sometimes, it just wasn't very visually appealing to me.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Synia

    Art that's often off model but still somehow stiff, a fantasy world that makes no sense and has no compelling lore, ugly colors, unlikable hipster cast, cringey dialogue... Oh hey it's hench girl except d&d edition. Art that's often off model but still somehow stiff, a fantasy world that makes no sense and has no compelling lore, ugly colors, unlikable hipster cast, cringey dialogue... Oh hey it's hench girl except d&d edition.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Issue #1: Read 07/07/18 5 stars "Really strong first issue, excited to see more." Issue #2: Read 07/28/18 4 stars Issue #3: Read 10/08/18 4 stars "I love me a good training montage." Issue #4: Read 10/08/18 5 stars "What a cute ending"

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mikey The High School Librarian

    Absolutely loved this issue! It was D&D characters meeting the realities of the 21st century world! So damn funny! Absolutely loved this issue! It was D&D characters meeting the realities of the 21st century world! So damn funny!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Our world melded with D&D. Excessively enjoyable. Interesting, likable characters. LGBTQ inclusion. Relatable to any 20-something working to survive but having more to offer the world. Our world melded with D&D. Excessively enjoyable. Interesting, likable characters. LGBTQ inclusion. Relatable to any 20-something working to survive but having more to offer the world.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Larakaa

    fun and entertaining with a great cast of characters!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Skye Kilaen

    Liked this, will definitely read a sequel. Will review later.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This was really funny, the background gags had me dying!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rekki

    This was a really cute and lighthearted read! Perfect for fantasy lovers suck in the real world dreaming of adventure. Very RPG. Lots of really funny easter eggs scattered around the pages.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    A fun take on the D&D-but-modern idea. My biggest concern was that it felt rushed. I wish the story had taken another couple issues to play out. A fun take on the D&D-but-modern idea. My biggest concern was that it felt rushed. I wish the story had taken another couple issues to play out.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    Cute. If you’re a fantasy reader this will amuse you for the 20 minutes it takes to read it,

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hebah

    Fairly stock fantasy story made somewhat fresh by a contemporary city setting. I was most entertained by some of the punny signage in the mall.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Pett

    Cute mashup of Dungeons & Dragons and Office Space. Good illustrations and fantastic world building. Cute mashup of Dungeons & Dragons and Office Space. Good illustrations and fantastic world building.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emily Thielbar

    3.5 This was a very cute graphic novel but it lost me a little at the end

  30. 4 out of 5

    AJ O. Mason

    3.5 stars.

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