William and the Lost Spirit – Review

GameStop, Inc.

by Whitney Grace
Staff Writer

William Lost SpiritIt is hard to write a good medieval story that does not get weighed down with clichés such as sword, sorcery, people talking funny, clothing, gender roles, and mentioning the plague. While the aforementioned list gives way to comedic scenarios, the serious medieval drama can be lost in the quest to save a princess or slay the evil dragon for his hoard. If a creator strives to leave that world behind and achieve a compelling epic, the end result is William and the Lost Spirit.

William’s father is dead, but his death was far from simple. Helise, his elder sister, suspects foul play and is also of the belief that their father is still alive. She runs away from her noble life to investigate, leaving William to handle the impending marriage of his mother to a licentious nobleman and to fear for his life. William is unsure if his father is alive, dead, or somewhere in-between, but he follows Helise and embarks on a journey accompanied by an honor bound knight, a very intelligent goat, and troubadour. William’s adventure takes him to worlds akin to the Pilgrim’s Progress or Gulliver’s Travels, filled with fantastic mythological beasts and creatures as well as personal self-discovery.

The art is as superb as the story with uncomplicated pencil drawings and colors. The color pallet sets the mood for the medieval age and it almost feels like opening a window into the past. Coupled together the art and story support each other as a cohesive whole.

It is hard not to compare William and the Lost Spirit to another medieval comic: Prince Valiant. Unlike Prince Valiant, which plays into the traditional high fantasy, William and the Lost Spirit is more about a young boy coping with his father’s death and setting the groundwork for the type of adult he will become. He must learn to deal with betrayal and greediness, but also that the rarest and truest friends can be anyone or anything. It was written by a team of well known French comic book writer and illustrator and was successful in its country of origin. It fits into the European literature model of ending a story on a bittersweet note, rather than the “happily ever after” most US children’s comics contain. Keeping that in mind, it doesn’t pander to the reader and has a shock of realism that is refreshing. Too bad this book did not get more notice in the US market, because it is a rare, excellent import.

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