Review: Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur by Tony Lee and Sam Hart

Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur by Tony Lee, Sam Hart (Illustrator)How did I get it: The library.

Why did I get it: The show Camelot on Starz has been a major let-down in every way possible so I have been keeping an eye out for something new and better about Arthur for awhile now. When I read the review for Excalibur that was posted to Reading Rants, I couldn’t resist checking it out myself.

How I would rate it: 4 out of 5 stars.

Summary:

Arthur Pendragon was raised in obscurity, but fate will not leave him to the shadows. In a moment of desperate need, he draws a legendary sword from its stonebed and commences the life he was born to lead. A series of adventures sparked by the elusive wizard Merlin launches Arthur through love and betrayal, domination and defeat, and toward the prophesied end awaiting him. Merging a faithful retelling with dynamic illustrations, EXCALIBUR invites long-time fans to relive the legend and those new to the story to experience it up close in a vivid graphic adventure.

Review: Despite its slow start, Excalibur was really a delightful, engaging, and fascinating take on Arthur, Merlin, and his knights. Not only because it incorporated more of Avalon than other reworkings I’ve read, but because of how well it captured the characters in such a short period of time.

I have to admit that Sam Hart’s artwork was good but not as riveting as I thought it would be. Thankfully, Tony Lee’s text really kept me engaged and after awhile I could not put this graphic novel down. All the characters were presented in a way that was true to older tales, but newer and very on point. And it was definitely one of the few times where I ended up liking Lancelot and Guinevere. Arthur’s connection to Avalon/Faerie was really awesome, and something that I think gets overlooked. I was so pleased by his relationship with Vivanne as well as with a magic-using Merlin. I loved the way the Green Knight, Morgan, and Mordred were incorportated too. The way concepts of destiny, fate, love, and honor were used in this graphic novel was really, really terrific, and in that respect, Excalibur‘s ending was particularly satisfying.

In conclusion, well worth reading for those who are fans of Arthurian legends, Gareth Hinds, or graphic novels, but there’s a lot here that I think would work well for readers who are maybe not all that interested in either just yet. I will definitely be checking out Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood, another one of Tony Lee’s graphic novels, very soon.

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About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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9 Responses to Review: Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur by Tony Lee and Sam Hart

  1. David says:

    Interesting, I didn’t know there was a traditional retelling in graphic novel form! I’m a huge fan of Arthurian legend — even studied the medieval romances in college — and have only recently started exploring graphic novels. I’ll definitely have to check this one out. Looking forward to what you say about the Robin Hood one.

    • Very cool! I did the same thing when I was in college too. One of my professors was really into Arthurian literature and tales of Faerie so I took a private course with her.

      I hope you enjoy the graphic novel when you get a chance to read it. 🙂

  2. Jen Moore says:

    I am prepared to be judgy, but I will give it a try.

  3. Pingback: Tolkien’s Mythology for England and King Arthur | Praeter Naturam

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  5. You know I always found movies in this setting very interesting, but have never read a book in the setting. I’m going to have to think about doing that. 🙂 Thank you for the great review!

    • I tend to avoid most of it like the plague, but sometimes the movies can be all right. Camelot, however… ugh.

      But this graphic novel is excellent. And you might also enjoy the Squire Tales series by Gerald Morris too if you’re looking more for fiction. 🙂

  6. Pingback: King Arthur and His Knights: A Bibliography | CSI: Librarian

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