The Armed Garden and Other Stories

By David B
(Fantagraphics Books, Hardcover, 9781606994627, 112pp.)

Publication Date: September 2011

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David B., the creator of the acclaimed Epileptic, gives full rein to his fascination with history, magic and gods, not to mention grand battles, in this literate, witty, and absorbing collection of stories all based on historical fact, or at least historical legend, and delineated in a striking stylized two-color format. The Veiled Prophet: During the 8th century (the time of Harun al-Rashid, the Caliph of 1001 Nights fame), Hakim al-Muqanna, the lowly Persian fabric dyer, is assaulted and enveloped by a piece of white cloth come from the sky. When a bystander recognizes in the folds of the cloth the visage of Abu-Muslim, defender of the oppressed, al-Muqanna becomes a prophet and great leader and within a year his followers have defeated seven armies sent to stop him The Armed Garden, set in the 15th century, tells the story of the bloody quest for a Paradise on Earth. Rohan, a humble Prague blacksmith, is visited by Adam and Even who urge him lead his followers, soon dubbed Adamites, on this mission. They soon must contend, bloodily, with the rival Paradise-seekers the Taborites, led by John Zizka. The Drum Who Fell in Love, a sequel of sorts, begins with Zizka 's death: His people have him skinned and his skin stripped onto a drum, and the drum, speaking in Zizka 's voice, leads the Taborites into battle anew. But the touch of a beautiful girl softens Zizka 's spirit, and the unlikely couple begin a journey together

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