The opening scene of Twig #1 is relatable in a particularly terrifying way: our title character sleeps through his alarm and is late for his first day on the job. Now granted, in Twig’s case, his alarm is a bird and his new job is located deep in the caverns of a sentient mountain. But still, relatable.
Twig is a kind-hearted though not entirely responsible critter who, along with his snail-starfish sidekick Splat, is about to embark on an epic adventure, much to their chagrin. And that’s assuming, of course, that the two companions can make it to the caverns of Mount Guphin in time for Twig to take on the role of “placeling,” a job that involves handling secret artifacts and carrying the fate of the world on their shoulders. No pressure.
The world of Twig is incredibly fun and unique with the right mix of adorable creatures and set pieces that are wondrous and weird in so many ways. The brainchild of Skottie Young and Kyle Strahm, Twig is a love-letter to the epic fantasy adventures that molded its creators and likely many of us readers as well! Its influences range from films like The Dark Crystal and Laybrinth to the animated films of Don Bluth and even Jeff Smith’s epic comic series Bone. Even the previously mentioned Mount Guphin has more in common with the Rockbiter from The NeverEnding Story than any mountain I’ve seen.
Young and Strahm bring their mutual storytelling sensibilities together in a merger that exploits both creators’ strengths in all the best ways. Young’s voice and storytelling prowess is evident in every panel, while Strahm’s illustrations are just perfect for this type of story. To paraphrase the song “Colors of the Wind,” every rock, tree, and creature has a life, a spirit, and a name. There’s a remarkable sense of continuity from one setting to the next, and there’s often a subtle creepiness that hints at a darkness resting just below the surface. His artwork is complemented by colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu‘s extraordinary pallet, and the lettering by Nate Piekos adds to the book’s delightfully strange personality.