By Nolan P. Smith
(Victor Valley)– I had heard great things about Once Our Land. The unique book from Scout Comics caught my eye, and with a second volume already out, I decided to dive into this new world and give it a shot.
From Peter Ricq, this is a graphic novel that stands out from most books on the shelf. Sure, the art style is very unique, but it is the story, the story will pull you in and not let go. The story kicks off in Germany, 1832, to pages full of flashback toned hues and an antique vibe to it all. We meet a young boy named Fritz, a boy who is overjoyed as the day is his birthday. After finding a strange present outside his door, the boy falls into mischief all while trying to protect his gift: a box that contained nothing… but was seemingly bottomless. Fritz goes down into the depths of the box and finds fascinating, terrifying creatures. As part 1 ends, we see more presents being delivered around the town.
Part 2 takes us some time away from Fritz and his box, as the color becomes fleshed out, and the tone changes to a more present-day feel. Humanity seems to be pushed to the edge from these creatures, same type from in the box. We meet Ingrid, a young girl scavenging for food and water, and we meet a man that rescues her, a name missing one eye named Fritz. This is where things start to go sideways but in an entertaining way. Fritz explains how he is a full grown man when he was just a boy, and we see the scope of these creatures invasion, and their one weakness, discovered by pure accident. Can Ingrid and Fritz, and some small companions, save the town and themselves?
The heart of the story is friendship, about not leaving anyone behind. A true to heart fantasy tale with creatures that stick in your mind long after the first read. Ricq has created a very likable duo of characters with Fritz and Ingrid and has made a seemingly simple story into something that can transcend the four-color pages of comic books. The artwork here is so amazing, it has a look and feel all its own, which is hard to say in today’s comic book landscape. I love the first volume of Once Our Land: it is an endearing tale of danger and teamwork, and I hope that we see this make the jump to the big or small screen one day. There is a reason Once Our Land has garnered so much buzz, I cannot recommend this book enough. I can’t wait to check out Book 2!