I’m going to come right out and say this, I loved the first issue of Long Ago and Far Away by Chris Mancini. It’s a great addition to my comic book collection for more than just the fact that it has great characters, art that rings a bell with the tone, and a refreshing premise that I wished we could see more of. It’s full of the kind of nostalgia I love to get lost in, and the premise itself feels like something from an 80s movie; which is always welcome on my bookshelf. It’s a great first issue in general too and a great introduction to what the story is — a story about a guy that was a hero in his youth, straight from the fantastical pages of some fantasy novel, and now runs his own comic book shop. It’s appealing to anyone that is a fan of the current landscape of comic books and superhero flicks, and it certainly pays a lot of homage and opinion to that too.
The story is simple, real simple. Jason was a hero in his youth, a warrior of sorts in the magical world of Elvenwood; there he battled witches, held magical swords, and had elven friends. Later in life though, you could say that he has taken a bit of a nosedive from the glory days; now he’s a slob and a loser whose only saving grace is the fact that he runs a dying comic book shop. That all changes though when the elves of Elvenwood come back to seek his help, their home is dying! It’s a fantastic premise with a lot of potential, and the tone is consistently comical and light with only subtle hints at what something deep beneath its surface. It’s very clear that this first issue was made for a specific kind of audience, from the references and the premise, and that audience is fans of comic book culture. If that describes you perfectly, you’ll love this first issue!
Jason is such a realised character too because he feels like someone we all know. A person in our lives that had great potential in their youth, but just hasn’t lived up to that hype. Perhaps even ourselves? For this reason, Jason is the perfect protagonist to take us through this journey through the story as he’ll, no doubt, realise his full potential and live up to what he was when he was younger (hopefully!) The comic’s real charm though is in the way it handles the situations it’s presented with, things are always kept light-hearted and funny but never unrealistic. The dialogue is believable, taken straight from the typical geeky conversations you have with your friends around the D&D table, and the art enthuses this tone brilliantly. I can’t think of another style that would work better than the one Fernando Pinto has used to bring this first issue to life.
In short, you should go out and read this comic, especially if you’re the type of person that reads comics and enjoys reminiscing about the better times of geek culture. The first issue introduces us to the characters that populate the story, but not much more beyond that so there’s still plenty of story to come and get lost inside of. I can’t wait. You can pick up the first issue now on Comixology (a link will be provided below) and you can also find links to the creator’s social media as well. Now, go out and get reading!
You can BUY the first issue RIGHT HERE