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October 9, 2011

Indie Reviews: Stargazer vol. 2 OGN

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Written by: Billy
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Stargazer vol. 2
Publisher: Von Allan Studios
Writer: Von Allan
Artsit: Von Allan
OGN – 110 pages, B&W (scheduled to ship October 12th)

When I first read volume one of this book, I thought it was pretty good, and also that I couldn’t imagine where the second volume was going story-wise. Well, I’m here to tell you that the story picks right up where volume one left off with the three girls arriving (via a viking ship) at the castle that they saw in the distance from their campsite. The structure is an odd one, but does have some similarities to ones found on Earth. After some exploring of the immediate area, the girls are greeted by some small gnome-like creatures that are very fuzzy and friendly. The girls decide to make camp inside the old castle instead of outside, due to fear of a loud roar they heard earlier in the forest. As the girls bed down for the night, Elora, who has been very emotional since they arrived, slips off into the upper levels of the castle. She can’t believe her eyes, but she sees Marni and the dark figure of an elderly woman walking up the stairs together. She yells out to them, but they act as if they cannot hear her. They reach a point where the steps are blocked by some rubble, but it doesn’t stop Marni and her friend. Elora tries to follow, but then falls down and hurts her leg. The next morning, Marni and Sophie find Elora at the bottom of the pile of rubble where she fell the previous night. Elora tells them that she saw Marni and her “friend” last night, but Marni tells her that she didn’t move all night. After some breakfast and conversation, the girls and their new friends are startled by that same roar that scared them in the forest. They are petrified when they see the monster that is right outside the walls of the castle. What happens next? Buy the book and find out; you won’t be disappointed!

Wow, is all I can say. It’s not easy to sit down and try to think that this story was conceived, written, and illustrated by one guy. I’m really impressed by the great story in these pages. It’s a very rare thing to see a book that’s totally original in story with no lack of depth, good characterization, and completely self-published. The story moves well from one chapter to the next, and doesn’t really have any slow points to speak of. Not only that, but the artwork is very solid, as well. The monster is very unique, and really caught me off guard. It was one of those moment when I was expecting something I’d seen before, but was shocked when I was wrong. I must admit that the ending was very interesting for me personally. Typically, at the end of a comic or graphic novel I’m shocked or surprised, sad or happy, just one emotion or feeling. At the end of this book, I can honestly say that I had a rush of different emotions that was difficult to process at first. I wanted answers to questions immediately, but then I paused and thought about it. Most stories these days are written with certain boundaries. Some because of publishers and editors standing over a writer tapping them on the shoulder and shaking their heads back and forth. Some because they’re writing characters with an enormous amount of history that inhibits their creative ability. Such is not the case with Stargazer, and I for one applaud Von Allan for having not only the courage, but the vision to put this wonderful story out there!

Billy Dunleavy
billy@comicattack.net

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