Thursday, August 9, 2012

Comics Review: Batula by Steven T. Seagle and Marco Cinello

“What happens when a fruit bat gets bitten by a vampire? He’s transformed into the vampire bat hero his colony might need the most… Batula.”

Batula is a short illustrated story for young readers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it cannot be enjoyed just as much by older children, like me. I wouldn’t say that this is a graphic novel but rather a fairytale of sorts.

The main protagonist is Livingston, who not just because of his name reminds us of Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, since like his predecessor is a man, or rather a bat, that looks for something else in his life, who tries to make something better of his self.

Livingston lives in an orchard with the rest of his tribe and if he stands out for something is that he doesn’t stand out for anything. Bart is the one who says the funniest stories; Auggie is the best at hanging upside-down; and Drina, oh Drina, is the bat of his dreams; a bat that pays no attention to him whatsoever.

So, what is a bat to do? Well, ignoring the wise advice of others, he decides to fly to the city of men. Once there the first person he encounters is a bat in captivity. What an unusual fellow that is; he’s never seen anyone like him. The latter, that goes by the name of Vlad, urges him to open the cage and set him free, and he obeys. What does he get in exchange? The bite that will turn him into a vampire.

Livingston, who will soon return to the orchard, will start little by little changing. He’ll get stronger and a little more confident, but at the same time he’ll stop enjoying the most precious of gifts, the fruits, and will crave for meat instead. He feels that he’s becoming something that he doesn’t like, and even though he at last catches the eye of Drina, he decides that it will be better if he leaves again.

So, off he goes. This journey though will prove different from the first one, since during it he will meet Wulf, the werewolf spider, who will help him accept his new reality and make him see how he can use his newfound powers for the purpose of good. And sooner rather than later something will happen that will make him realize that once you start to like who you are, the others will like you too.

A short and beautifully written and illustrated story that has something to say to the reader; and that it does, in a graceful manner.

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