Ok so the time has come. The comic style graphic novel of Steve Jackson’s Fighting Fantasy book, The Trolltooth Wars, has finally arrived in my hand after a disappointing two years overdue. With much controversy surrounding the raison d’etre, I thought I’d give a review.
Before we crack on with the book itself, we shall look at the extras that came with the pledge I chose. To begin with, the four badges. Three of which contain logos which are neither intricate or large. They are rendered nicely enough but clearly badge 4, the Fighting Fantasy logo pin is the best amongst them.
It’s likely that these little badges of the black tower, skullbat and owl have been made bulk possibly on an ebay offer to save money. You can usually get them done in bulk amounts for under twenty pounds sterling. (I’m trying to work out what I have recieved in terms of value as well.)
Next we have a collection of six digital prints. The card is of a sturdy quality and the winner for me is Malcolm Barter’s long awaited vision of Yaztromo. Malcolm illustrated Ian Livingstone’s Forest Of Doom in which this characters name first appeared but he wasn’t realised until a few books later by another illustrator.
The other prints are of course just larger versions of what one will find in the book so frameable if there is such a word but not entirely as treasurable as the Yaztromo portrait. Nice to see the crow back by the way 😉
The bookplate. I have a bit of a gripe with this. The illustration is fair enough but it was described as number on Kickstarter from #2-#200. While this has been carried out, it has only been crudely hand written on the back of the plate in liquid tip pen.
This makes the whole thing seem very cheap and in my opinion it should have been part of the front like a certificate design. The best thing about it was the paper it was printed on. Something lacking, a nice frame of gold foil motif.
So that brings me on to the book itself. Lets start with the size of it. I had thought this would have been around A4 size like the recent Freeway Fighter comics. I’m not sure where I got this idea from but the actual book is more in the A5 region. As a result we with impaired vision don’t get much ease on the eyes sometimes having to squint at the speech bubbles, and Gavins artwork feels somewhat contained in the smaller frames.
Speaking of the artwork. When you’re use to the likes of Russ Nicholson, Iain McCaig, Martin McKenna etc, this seems dummied down a lot. This is probably to appeal to the younger audience as well and it does indeed look somewhat cartoon. The picture below of the Chervah cooking for Darkmane is just far too twee, especially with bunny foo foo watching. Urgh!
Oh yea and the packaging all this arrived in was little more than a flimsy cardboard folder which meant the books have all been scuffed.
So whats my final verdict. In all honesty I think I squandered too much money into this reward, with about £40 worth of product back in return. It certainly did get me worried when PJ announced he was taking his partner on holiday right after the kickstarter funded. Then we had two years of waiting, which gave way to rumours he had spent the funds and trickled out bits on a Sunday night with Gavin as and when they felt like it. This was an amateur attempt at project not properly planned and in return we get an amateur product. The artists deserve the most credit as they have put most effort in but after an unforgivable wait many backers are considering returns and asking for refunds. It’s a bit of FF matter that only die hard Fighting Fantasy fanatics or curious people should bother with, otherwise just buy the origional novel off of Ebay to avoid getting ripped off.
Pros: good art, story adapted to comic style well
Cons: was 2 years overdue, seemed overpriced due to size. Anybody want to buy a piece of card for £30?
For a probably more thorough review try checking out MalthusDiresFightingFantasyReview website in the link bar.
Update: Though I consider the comic, badges and art are certainly a pass albeit long overdue for £80, it seems a certain person on the TrolltoothWars team has taken the criticism rather unprofessionally that they decided to resort to name calling on Twitter. It shows where the lack of professional approach came from in this project and I hope they enjoyed their holiday with my thirty pounds for a bit of card with an owl drawn on it. If it’s worth that you are welcome to buy it back from me to prove it. Trolling paying customers is never a good thing.