MAGIC WIND VOL. 1: FORT GHOST (Epicenter, 2013; Softcover)
Collects Magico Vento No. 1 (cover date September, 1997)
Writer: Gianfranco Manfredi
Artist: Jose Oritz
Colorist: Sergio Algozzino
We are living in an era of global comic books. Technology has raised awareness of European works like this, and publishers like Humanoids have been translating their works for the English speaking world. Epicenter Comics have translated this Italian fan favorite with plans to do the entire run of original graphic novels. While this was labeled Number 1 it is not a single issue periodical; comics is Europe are typically published in albums, this one having 94 pages of story. Also unlike their American counterparts, they have no set schedule, with months and sometimes years passing between editions. There are 131 issues in this series, with Volume 2 already solicited for a September release.
This is a Horror-tinged Western. The material has been freshly colored, as it was originally published in black and white. The purist in me would love to see it as it was originally released, but the fan in me is loving this beautifully colored version.
The gist: A Native American in the Dakota Territory has had a vision, a vision which has led him to discover a critically injured Wasicun man (white people) amongst a train wreckage. The man has amnesia, and Lame Horse told him his name is Magic Wind. The scene shifts to Chicago, three years after the accident. Willy Richards, known as Poe due to his resemblance to Edgar Allen Poe, is a political journalist who has uncovered some crooked dealings involving real estate speculation. Howard Hogan was, shall we say, well informed of the planned train routes and bought land for nothing, selling it when it was at it's peak before the military changed their bases, and leaving people broke owners of ghost towns.
Poe keeps digging, and his publisher threatens to kill the story. He journeys to Mugby Junction, one of the ghost towns ruined by Hogan's dealings, in pursuit of the story. It is on the train ride that he encounters Magic Wind. Once they reach town, they encounter Scully at the Blue Hotel...and this is as far as I will go with my synopsis for fear of ruining things for you.
There are some true Horror elements here. Jose Oritz's artwork is great, coming off like Joe Kubert in his prime. This feels like an amped up, slightly more sophisticated Silver Age/Bronze Age DC Horror/Mystery type comic, and I love it. If the quality is maintained at this level for the entire series then I will be in for all 131 volumes. It's only money, right?
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.75 out of 5.
The OCD zone- Epicenter makes high quality trade paperbacks/ graphic novels. My only gripe is on page 68, shown below. Note the two black ink splotches on panels 1, 3, and 6. I am uncertain if this defect effects the entire run due to a production error or if I am just the lucky recipient of a printer error. If it is the latter, well, it happens. If it is the former, then it sucks.
Paper rating: 5 out of 5. Incredibly thick glossy coated stock. It has that glorious toxic Chinese ink and paper aroma that I love to huff.
Binding rating: 4.5 out of 5. Sewn binding on a softcover? Yes, please!
Cardstock cover coating rating: 4.5 out of 5. The cover has a dull matte finish coating. While I prefer the waxy, glossy lamination that Marvel and DC use on their trade paperbacks, this is extremely scuff resistant, a rarity for this type of coating.