"The Hanging Tower" by Sam Bosma
Sam Bosma's follow up to “Fantasy Basketball”* is another genre mashup exercise. This time it’s a “the magic is gone” epic fantasy setting meets a Western. And the first scene takes place in a old fashioned general store that would be suitable to equip yourself before exploring a dungeon or riding out into Monument Valley in pursuit of a band of outlaws. The shopkeep is wearing a bowtie though, and that particular piece of fusty European fashion never made much headway in epic fantasy.
There is one well choreographed fight with a bridge troll but the major draw of the comic is the way these two genres come up against each other. Moll goes out to fetch her daughter from the ruins of a magical tower and a fancy city and bring her back to her dilapidated old west village - back to the world of “minding the stable” rather than Eudora’s world of “raising demons”.
The premise of a mother heading out to rescue her grown daughter who has overreached her ambitions and needs to be bailed out when magic (read: the economy) has begun to fail seems not only timely to 2014, but feels like an uncomfortably good fit for the world of indie comics. In a world where magic is in retreat it’s not as easy to raise demons as it once was. There may be sadness and one last glance at dreams being left behind, but there no shame in retreating to a safer world when it’s the only option left.
* (Pictured above) Sam Bosma politely included a sketch of his 2014 Ignatz award for “Fantasy Basketball” in the front of this book.