I admit I’ve always been a fan of mainstream superhero comic books and graphic novels and I grew up with reading the big names like Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and others, but there is also one comic book innovator among these names that should be added to the mix, that is Jack Katz with his First Kingdom graphic novel series. The large graphic novel series spans time and space, mortals versus immortals across 6 volumes. This might be the “first” graphic novel and The First Kingdom Vol. 1: The Birth of Tundran was originally published in 1974 through 1977 in black and white.
Now in 2013, Titan Comics and Jack Katz come together to republish this incredible series. The graphic novel features background information on how the First Kingdom series was created, interview with Jack Katz himself about his art influences and his eye-witness accounts of the”Golden Age” and “Silver Age” of comics, and bonus sketches.
In this first volume, The Birth of Tundran, we meet the great warrior Darkenmoor, who leads his people in a post-apocalyptic prehistoric time period. He falls in love with the woman he saves Nedlaya. And in a world away, the leader of the gods, Emperor God Dranok and his immortals live in Helleas Voran. His half mortal/half immortal daughter Selowan also falls in love with the Darkenmoor. And like any good Korean TV drama, the love triangle begins, also throw-in a jealous brother trying to destroy Darkenmoor and Selowan’s siblings conniving plots to stop Selowan’s love affair.
The First Kingdom Vol 1 may not read like one of those Russian novels like “War and Peace”, but it’s gets pretty close. Even though it’s a graphic novel, Jack Katz writes a thick dose of words, so the reading is involved and not just looking at pictures. I also found myself reading panels 2 or 3 times over because there are also lots of characters involved, so I suggest a cup of coffee and snacks when reading this. I really enjoyed reading about the writer and artist himself Jack Katz and how he created his own graphic novel. If you like sci-fi/fantasy with that old-school kick and ready to let your mind run wild and imagine Jack Katz’s vivid world, then pick-up First Kingdom Vol 1: The Birth of Tundran.
Hardbound Graphic Novel: The First Kingdom Vol. 1 - The Birth of Tundran
Writer & Artist: Jack Katz
Publisher: Titan Comics
Available: September 24, 2013