Storm Born is the latest book-to-comic adaptation from Sea Lion Books, and the latest project of the Dabel brothers to translate words from the printed page to sequential panels. They have even published a comic book take on Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist! This is similar to their work with their previous company, Dabel Brothers, which produced a decent version of George R.R. Martin’s Hedge Knight. Seeing as Marvel has since obtained their back catalogue, it appears the Dabels are starting from square one all over again with Sea Lion Books.

Their latest series is based on the novels of Richelle Mead, with writer Grant Alter and artist Dave Hamann introducing this urban fantasy to the joys of the ninth art.

Richelle Mead's Dark Swan

The story is concerned with Eugenie Markham, who makes a living from banishing spirits and demons to their various dimensions of origin, known as the Otherworld or Underworld. Like Mike Carey‘s Felix Castor, she is an exorcist living in a world that, while recognizable as our own, is nevertheless full of genies, shapeshifters and other cthonic ne’er-do-wells. All of this, of course has to be balanced with Eugenie’s own turbulent love life. When a new case reveals a prophecy concerning our heroine, she suddenly finds herself the target of an assortment of dimension-crossing ‘Gentry’, who have a habit of attacking at the most inconvenient times, such as when she is enjoying a post-coital embrace with her new boyfriend.

Dark Swan #1What’s enjoyable about the series so far is that it follows the lead of author Mead in having a sense of humour about itself. After all, her book opens with Eugenie confronted with a haunted shoe, and in the second issue she encounters a nixie hanging out in a sink. There is also a laugh out loud funny sequence with the exorcist and her lover Kiyo battling an ice-demon naked. Hamann slyly has the offending pudenda obscured by the material of a bed sheet, a lamp, or a magickal fume at one point. Perhaps if the book was not as reliant on narration boxes to deliver Mead’s narration it would flow at an easier pace. Still, there is plenty to enjoy here.

It is astonishing that Sea Lion Books are one of the few comic book companies looking to court the readers of urban fantasy books. Particularly in regard to the ‘Big Two’ publishers, there is this sense that a profitable market stakeholder – readers of fiction with kickarse heroines who fight monsters and enjoy the occasional romp with a supernatural fiend or two – is being ignored.

Two issues in and this series looks like a comic with a wicked sense of fun. Give it a gander.