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Monica Valentinelli

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files Comic Review

Posted on August 19, 2008 by Monica Valentinelli


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Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden is back and invading the world of comics in a series entitled, Welcome to the Jungle. Don’t know who Harry Dresden is? Well, if you haven’t met Chicago’s favorite wizard yet, this four-part comic series is a good introduction to the world of Harry Dresden and his friends.

Produced by Dabel Brothers Publishing, the Dresden Files comic is written by best-selling author Jim Butcher. Dabel Brothers has made it a point, over the past few years, to breathe life into novels by visually representing them in a comic book format. Recently, we learned that Dabel Brothers will begin production on Storm Front; Jim Butcher’s Storm Front is the first in series starring Harry Dresden, Bob, Lieutenant Murphy, Michael, Morgan, Toot Toot and a host of other colorful characters.

In Welcome to the Jungle, Harry Dresden has an unusual innocent to save–a gorilla named “Moe.” Accused of violently murdering a victim in Lincoln Park Zoo, Harry Dresden rushes in to investigate, spurred on by Lieutenant Murphy. Just when he picks up the trail of the “real” killer, things get sticky as our lucky hero gets right into the middle of a death match with supernaturally-charged lions. With a little help from his partner-in-crime, Bob, Dresden tracks down the source of the possessed animals–but is it too late? Will Dresden be able to stop a big evil from taking over Chicago?

HARRY: How do I kill it?
BOB: It’s got skin like tank armor. It knows more magic than you. It can tear you limb from limb with its bare hands and its claws are poisonous. Kill it the same way you would anything else. Just do it a LOT. –SOURCE: Dresden Files Comic| Welcome to the Jungle Part 2

As with other books and media within the Harry Dresdenverse, you do not need to know anything about this wizard-for-hire before you pick up the comics. As such, don’t be surprised if there is a bit of repetition in the writing; this was (no doubt) done intentionally to cover a broader market. If you want a good comparison for the episodic-style comic, read my Dresden Files TV Series review.

Drawn in a tell-tale comic book style, Ardian Syaf’s artwork (along with a team of inkers and colorists) is a good re-imagining of Harry Dresden’s world. I liked the way some of the more technical “magical” aspects of Dresden’s spells were handled artistically and the animal representations were impressive; using sepia tones to illustrate “past” memories or sequences were an excellent touch and added great visual cues for the reader. Admittedly, I did have a little bit of a chuckle at one of the “helpless” zookeepers expense–she seemed just a little too attractive to be stuck in a zoo.

One of the biggest benefits to getting involved in this comic series, though, is that it was written by Jim Butcher. As with other of the Dabel Brothers properties, it’s really brilliant on their part to infuse comics with popular novelists like George R.R. Martin, Dean Koontz, Patricia Biggs, Laurell K. Hamilton and Jim Butcher.

Whether you’re a first-time fan or not, the other nice thing about the Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle issues #1 and #2 is that it’s such an excellent representation of what Harry Dresden is all about. Although the first two issues are only half of the story arc, you can still sit down–read them from cover-to-cover–and decide for yourself whether or not you’d like to get into the entire comic series or read more about Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files.

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One Response to “Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files Comic Review”

  1. Joe says:

    I met Mr. Butcher at Comic Con at a panel he participated on world building and he’s a very engaging and dynamic creator.

    He was kind enough to sign all my issues of Welcome to the Jungle. Great guy!

    Reply

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