Written and Illustrated by Christine Larsen
ORCS! written and illustrated by Christine Larson is a humorous fantasy comic about orcs. In a world full of fantasy comics, Dungeon & Dragon streams, not to mention countless fantasy novels, does ORCS! Set itself apart enough to be worth your time? So far. . . yes.
Like most #1s, ORCS! #1, is more of an introductory to the world than it is any substantial plot. Readers are treated to a fun introduction story, that sets the tone for the rest of the issue. It quite clearly tells readers: This story is about adventures. Just not the adventures readers of fantasy typically imagine when they think of the genre. Of course, like any fantasy story worth its salt, ORCS! starts with a quest. Apparently, there is some barrier treasure. Somewhere. Nobody knows where, but it’s out there–in a magical forest, and the band of adventurers is keen on finding it. Even if they aren’t keen on the magic forest. Because you see, the first is full of elves.
This brings us to our characters. The most intriguing of which is Utzu. An Orc mom is referred to as a “hen” by her friend because Utzu his tiny toddler-orc son to steals some food if nobody feeds him while she is gone. Personally, I’d never thought of Orcs as particularly maternal. I’m glad this comic addressed this important bit of lore. Then there’s the dog (or wolf) named Woolfie, there’s the reluctant friends, the dummy, and Gurh. Think Groot, but an Orc. Anyway, the cast of characters feels loveable enough–but going forward, can they be cast readers will root for?
The art of this piece is appropriate in its rawness. It doesn’t try to do too much, and due to the subject matter, feels on brand. What is the most amazing aspect of this comic is that Larsen does all the work. Not only the writing and lines but also the colors and letters. The character design is memorable as are the environments throughout. The writing pokes fun at the tropes of the genre, without losing too much of the verisimilitude.
While it remains to be seen how loveable ORCS! continues to be, there’s no doubt this first issue is a fun romp. It’s a romp with surprises, laughs, and some unexpected villains. I’ll be excited to see where this short arc goes, and hope it keeps the charm it has established here.
A fun and funny fantasy romp that promises a good time for lovers of the genre, who don't mind poking fun at a genre that is oftentimes so serious and dark in this day and age.