The Reason for Dragons: A Review in Courage
All men have to fight battles, big or small. Take comfort, squire.
The musical Man of La Mancha is a fatally flawed and breathtaking show. The story of a man in the twilight of his years diving into one last insane adventure, one that you can only hope is real, is both sad and inspiring. To say The Reason For Dragons holds that same magic and hope would be a serious understatement. In a fresh take of the classic Don Quixote theme, The Reason For Dragons tells the story of Wendell, a kid trying to make peace with the loss of his father, as well as Sir Habaersham, a lone knight with unwavering loyalty to his village and the terrifying dragon that destroyed his once lovely town. The problem is…the town is an abandoned Ren Faire lot, and there is no such things as dragons. Or are there? That is the Sir Habaersham’s purpose on this earth – to protect the world from the hideous beast that changed his fate.
When Wendell is dared by local bullies to steal a pamphlet from the old haunted Ren Faire grounds, he never would have guessed he would come across a real live knight. Yes, there are some bats in the guy’s belfry, but it’s a good distraction for Wendel; he feels helpless after his fathers death, as well as trying to bond with a stepfather who just doesn’t get him, no matter how hard they both try. After Wendell makes it back to civilization and the discovers the real origins of his knight in rusty armor, Wendell believes that’s the end of his adventure. In fact, it may have opened up a whorld where Wendell and Habaersham’s journey have only begun.
The Reason For Dragons does for the reader exactly what it does for Wendell: it gives us hope. Wonder. The feeling that anything is possible, both within and beyond our imagination. Any story that re-instills you with that sense of excitement in the unknown is a necessity in this world, as far as I’m concerned. Illustrator Jeff Stokely captures the conceptual designs originally done by Murphy to a T while making it his own, the severe lines and coloring bringing a sense of pressure and starkness to everything. It reminds me of Mignola’s work with the art being chock full of strong jaws and environments that look so sharp you feel the dead grass and sharpness on your fingertips as you read.
You can tell this was penned by an east-coast boy with Wendell’s acerbic view on life as he confronts Sir Habaersham, the feel of the language definitely colored by the constant “Law and Order” reruns that Northrop and Murphy played in the background as they brought this story to life originally.
All the characters are endearing and end up having their moment in the spotlight thanks to several short stories that were pleasantly surprising to find tagged to the end of the novel. From something as lighthearted as Sir Habaersham jousting to defend his lady’s honor, to the stepfather’s story That One Time In ‘Nam. where the character of Ted gets solidified as my favorite character by simply being a badass with a heart of gold, there is something in these little snippets for everyone. The various talents weave their own individual webs with style and depth, making each story rich and fascinating. It gives each story its own personal fingerprint, no two looking or sounding the same, but they remain complimentary to each other which makes multiple readings of this novel even more rich with each subsequent pass.
Take a look at a sneak peek of The Reason for Dragons. You’ll thank me for it. Because everyone needs more wonder in their life.
The Reason for Dragons is available in comic shops everywhere now, as well as bookstores
Written By: Chris Northrop
Illustration and Cover By: Jeff Stokely
Created By: Chris Northrop and Sean Murphy
Published by: Archaia Entertainment