It’s always a good time for me when I can review a Kickstarter comic book project that is all about creating something interesting and fun to read. ‘Stormhaven Techs’ by Ben Haith-Bedford certainly seems like a project that has a lot of substance and work put into it; the art is cartoony and fantastic, the characters seem unique and captivating (especially one in-particular), and I love the premise that’s driving it. I can’t help but feel though that I’ve seen this project somewhere before in Rene Pfitzer’s ‘Sneaky Goblins at College’ that came out not too long ago with its Kickstarter debut, as these projects certainly share a similar look and premise. So undoubtedly, the question most potential backers will probably have for this project is how does these two projects differ and why should you get excited about this one if you invested in Sneaky Goblins at College?
Let’s start with the story, which appears to be all about two main characters as they try to survive the dangerous complexities that come with running a magical school. Tabitha LeCloth – a former adventurer and recent hire, and Fungus McKnackle – her colleague and friend work together to solve the school’s problem while dealing with Tabitha’s former adventuring past. From what the Kickstarter campaign page tells us, we can expect to see three short stories revolving around these characters in this 100+ page graphic novel. The first story involves a tricky situation in a potions class (we’ve all been there right?), the second is about braving the dangers of several intriguing and dangerous locations in the school (like the caretaker’s closet), and the third is about dealing with an evil lich that turns up to threaten the school. They’re interesting choices for shorts to be sure with the potential for comedy and funny scenarios, and this is where the differences between this project and the other start to show. It’s certainly easy to see that Stormhaven Techs has a different flavour to Rene Pfitzner, and the similarities they share are probably because they’re both taking inspiration from the same source. Dungeons & Dragons; a popular muse these days.
The characters the campaign page lets us in on are well-designed and we get a feel for their personalities and quirks straight away just by looking at them. They certainly seem like an interesting team up, and it’ll be interesting to follow this pair as the narrative unfolds in these stories, but I would’ve liked to know more about them. I think Tabitha LeCloth has some excellent description and background — she feels well-rounded, but her accomplice and acquaintance Fungus McKnackle could use a little more – he’s described only as a gnome and colleague on the page, as well as being a technician for the school which could use a bit more flair.
On the surface it certainly seems like these two projects could share the same bookshelf; they have a similar art style, similar premise, a similar tone, and they share the fact that they feature short stories rather than a full narrative. Looking closer though, these two both handle their premises very differently and that’s the part that’s worth investing in for this project. The characters and the stories are worlds apart from each other, so rather than comparing the two projects, I’ll say that if you enjoyed the Sneaky Goblins at College Kickstarter, then you’ll most certainly enjoy this one too, and there’s no reason for you not to invest (I invested!) Sure it has some of the same flavour, but ultimately with different ideas and interpretations; mostly derived from the zany characters and curious scenarios. There’s no reason at all why you can’t have both, and I for one, am looking forward to having it on my shelf! Check it out for yourself!
You can find the Kickstarter Page RIGHT HERE