Ta­mamo the Fox Maiden

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Diverse Voices / Comics & Graphic Novels - PETER DABBENE

And Other Asian Sto­ries Kel Mc­don­ald (Ed­i­tor) Iron Cir­cus Comics (APRIL) Soft­cover $15 (209pp), 978-1-945820-34-2

Adapt­ing Asian folk­tales and fa­bles to comics form, Ta­mamo the Fox Maiden de­liv­ers twenty-one tales from across the con­ti­nent.

Aside from the Ja­panese ti­tle story and “The Bal­lad of Mu­lan,” fa­mil­iar to many be­cause of the Dis­ney film, this book mostly gath­ers lesser known tales from ar­eas tra­di­tion­ally un­der­rep­re­sented in such col­lec­tions, in­clud­ing Laos, Ge­or­gia, Myan­mar, Turkey, and Ti­bet, in ad­di­tion to sev­eral each from China, In­dia, and Ja­pan. It’s an­other en­try in Iron Cir­cus’s se­ries of “Cau­tion­ary Fa­bles and Fairy Tales,” and the one thing that all of its sto­ries have in com­mon is a pointed warn­ing or piece of ad­vice. Th­ese in­clude: be­ware of pride; be­ware of strangers, beau­ti­ful, hand­some, or seem­ingly help­ful; don’t peek when you’re told not to; and don’t trust tigers—in cages or in mar­riage.

De­spite the gen­eral fo­cus on dan­ger and other neg­a­tives, many of th­ese sto­ries are told with a hu­mor­ous, tongue-in-cheek at­ti­tude that light­ens their mood and keeps the book en­ter­tain­ing rather than di­dac­tic. Cre­ated by a large cast of writ­ers and artists, Ta­mamo the Fox Maiden demon­strates dif­fer­ent styles of sto­ry­telling; some are more ef­fec­tive than oth­ers, but all show a high level of care and en­thu­si­asm.

The black and white art ranges from car­toony to stun­ningly de­tailed and re­al­is­tic. In nearly ev­ery case, it fits the story’s tone per­fectly. Ta­mamo the Fox Maiden makes for an en­joy­able, pic­to­rial ex­cur­sion into an­cient Asian cul­ture.

Image by Terry Blas from Ta­mamo the Fox Maiden and Other Asian Sto­ries by Kel Mc­don­ald (Ed­i­tor). Used with per­mis­sion from Iron Cir­cus Comics.

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