That’s right…I said it…you don’t. This little Blue Lagoon/Clan Of The Cave Bear coming of age graphic novel, is one beautifully drawn and well written story. I’m always a sucker for good art and Broxo didn’t disappoint. The two leads, Broxo and Zora were visually stunning! Zack Giallongo, without wasting precious dialogue, created a ton of back story just by paying attention to the subtleties is clothing and gesture.
The following was taken from a Q&A with Zack at First Second Books
ZACK: For me, character design is as much about tapping into certain truths that we know intrinsically as humans, but also playing against type and being able to throw a wrench in the whole machine. After all, who wants to design cliche characters?
The time is unknown, but one can assume that the events in Broxo takes place in the early stages of man’s development. In a time when there’s still remnants of beast and magic that no longer exist. The Earth is ruler here and she must be respected evidenced by Zora’s disgusts with Broxo’s meat consumption and her affinity for berries and veggies. Could our man Zack be a vegetarian? Hmmm. Seems like an awful lot of tree hugging talk coming from the Granitwing Clan (those uppidy vegans).
ZACK:Unlike Broxo, Zora is a very modern and cosmopolitan barbarian and her dress and features had to reflect that. While cultured, she is also a trained fighter and an athletic person. She probably outweighs Broxo, but don’t make a big deal out of that to her face.
Broxo is a campfire tale of two fierce teens from totally different backgrounds, both displaced, but must come together to fight supernatural forces unlike any they’ve ever seen. Broxo is a young king whose been forced into the mountains after his clan was slaughtered by an undead horde. Zora is a princess from a neighboring clan whose fed up with her role in her society and decides to head out into the wild to find an ancient clan known as the Perytons. The twos unlikely meeting, is like the aligning of the planets as the both of them learn more of more about the fate of the Perytons, the undead horde and who or what created them. Broxo leans heavily on the Jungle Book aesthetic in that it has the wild boy (Broxo) and his trusty bear or uni-bear (Migo) in this case and then there’s the city girl (Zora) who brings with her all her city ways and the two form a beautiful friendship, but that’s where the Disney tale ends. It get’s real dark in the land of Panthos and the lush green landscape is soon swapped for dead trees, fierce blood thirsty beast and dangerous wizards. I found some of the moments in the book a bit wordy and I feel that the plot could have been streamlined a tad. Reading Broxo, I get the sense that Zack is a narrative heavy writer and Broxo might’ve been a challenge in that it’s a simple story that doesn’t require too much narrative. The character’s all have great back stories and lends themselves well to the plot. There are other characters in the book whom I’d like to know more about, but maybe he’s saving that for the second book. I am curious about the time and place Broxo is set in and whether it’s completely fictional or he drew from actual history. Broxo is a delightful read for this first time graphic novelist. It manages to keep it simple and filled with great morality tales like a good fantasy should. I totally recommend it! Big up’s to the colorist Braden Lamb and Carly Monardo who’s use of pigment in this piece is unbelievable!