Lost Tales is the latest collection from the pages of the great kids’ comic The Phoenix, and the third collection of work by the brilliant Adam Murphy. His previous two books have concerned his strip Corpse Talk where the reader gets to learn about some extraordinary people throughout history via the medium of an interview with their reanimated cadaver – an oddly pleasing way to learn, I’ve found. However, Lost Tales is something very different.
Taking folk tales from the around the globe Murphy has reinterpreted them through comics, utilising the brief few pages per story to their full effect, with striking visuals and seasoned with good humour. The tales range from the Punjab, Romania and Japan to name but a few, and including one from Scotland I’d not heard before either. Regardless of the country of origin, they all strike a chord.
A good folk tale is often the combination of absurd circumstance and beating an injustice (although not always so) and so like as not the very reason you’re hearing the tale is because it’s already stood the test of time by warranting a constant retelling. The homogeny of much of our modern storytelling can mean a wider audience for a contemporary tale, but it also offers the opportunity for a two-way exchange as we experience stories from far and wide – but only if the likes of Lost Tales make the effort. So rest assured that all the tales gathered here are worthy of your attention.
In a nutshell, I think this is my favourite Phoenix book to date, with every tale a mini-masterpiece of the art-form, beautifully presented and lovingly told. I’m hoping we’ll see many more of them.
And if you liked that: Then dip into Corpse Talk for more Adam Murphy excellence