What is real and what is fantasy? In Kingdom of the Wicked, by Ian Edginton and D’Israeli, one man will go to dangerous lengths to understand his personal reality.
Chris has written children stories ever since his youth. One such story, about a world he called Castrovalva, was so detailed and enchanting, that Chris believed he could travel there. Now an adult, Chris is a children’s author and is making it big — much to his chagrin. But as he begins to experience severe headaches and blackouts, Chris unwillingly returns to Castrovalva, though it is hardly the land he left behind.
Kingdom of the Wicked is a brilliant graphic novel. Edginton does a masterful job at highlighting the innocence of childlike imagination, while at the same time, examining the insecurities of adulthood. Through the lens of Chris, we are able to see the psychological effects of a life controlled by outside forces. Edginton’s transitions from reality to Chris’s fantasy world are seamless in execution. The protagonist is fully developed, engaging, and human in every sense of the word — a feat not easily accomplished in comics.
D’Israeli’s illustrations — a unique combination of old-fashioned nursery rhyme story images and a modern cartoon style — are perfectly paired with Edginton’s tale. One page may be filled with exuberant and vivid colors to illustrate the joyous and lively world of Castrovalva, while the next will exude dark and glum color palettes to mark the grim state of the fantastical land.
I’m surprised that I had never heard of this graphic novel before, originally having been released in 2004. I’m glad, however, that I was able to read Kingdom of the Wicked this time around for its reissue with Titan Comics. Trust me, this is one wickedly good story that you don’t want to miss!