The Stone King #1
Written by Kel McDonald
Art by Tyler Crook
Back in July, the SDCC press event for ComiXology, Amazon’s premiere digital comics service, announced the creative teams and titles for the next wave of ComiXology Originals.
If you are a comic fan or have a comic fan in your life, you’ve probably heard of Comixology. Home to the largest selection of digital comics anywhere, it’s perfect for someone just starting to build their digital comics library or for comic fans that want to ease the strain that a traditional pull list can place on their budget. Either way, Comic lovers of all kinds can get lost in a universe of comics, graphic novels, and manga.
ComiXology Originals is the place to go for new and unique comic books, graphic novels, manga and so on. This is where you will find a lot of great series that offer a wide range of genres and a diverse cast of writers and artists.
Since it’s inception, ComiXology Originals has debuted many great looking and fun series including Goliath Girls, Grave Danger, Marley’s Ghost, Hit Reblog: Comics That Caught Fire, Secret Agent Deadpool, Teenage Wasteland, and Super Freaks. Their most recent release The Stone King #1 continues the trend.
The Stone King #1 is the first of a 4-part miniseries. One part Oliver Twist, and one part The NeverEnding Story, The Stone King is a coming-of-age fantasy adventure written by Kel McDonald (Misfits of Avalon, Cautionary Fables and Fairytales) with art by Tyler Crook (Harrow County).
This entertaining series features the young teenage thief, Ave, who is trapped in a life of petty crime and desperately desires something more. She craves more excitement and it’s clear she’s interested in spending more time beyond the gates of the city. Accompanied by her flying dog, Ave often steals magic moss from the Stone King to appease Rheebee (a very Fagin-like character) who heads the Stoneport thieves.
The Stone King is a mighty giant who roams the lands and upon his shoulders is where the magic moss grows. This moss has incredible healing properties which is much needed by the humans in this story. Since harvesting the moss from the Stone King requires scaling the Stone King as he is moving, the city requires training and permits to harvest the magic moss.
On the one hand, this keeps foolish and desperate people from harm, but it also keeps the magic moss trade firmly under the control of the rich elites who profit from this trade.
Our story opens as Ave is scaling the Stone King to illegally harvest the healing moss. With the help of her trusty mount (the flying dog), Ave’s theft goes even better than she could have dreamed.
She sustains no more than a minor scratch and discovers the biggest gem she’s ever seen. She seizes the gem in hopes to graduate beyond the petty pick-pocketing she so despises. But is such a wondrous prize really worth the consequences? Rheebee seems less than impressed but grudgingly moves Ave to cat burglar. But the real problem isn’t Rheebee’s cheating Ave on the price of the prize.
It’s how the Stone King reacts when it realizes its property has been stolen.
In a rage over its’ missing possession, the Stone King goes on a rampage. destroying the city. Everything Ave’s ever known is in rubble or will be soon. It’s clear immediately the city’s salvation depends on the return of the gem.
Ave must face the responsibility for the disaster she’s instigated. How will she track down such a rare and valuable gem, with the city in chaos? And if she does return it to its rightful owner, will that be enough to make things right?
Giant Dreams: Meet the Creators
“As a kid, I always craved adventure stories about girls and fantastical worlds,” said The Stone King writer, Kel McDonald. “I think right now the world needs more adventure stories about girls who’re flawed people. We are seeing more stories centered around girls, but mostly the focus has been on women/girls who are good role models. And it’s important to me to have more adventure fantasy stories where the main character is a girl, but also a flawed individual.”
Kel McDonald has been working in comics for over a decade, spending most of that time on her webcomic Sorcery 101. More recently, she has organized the Cautionary Fables and Fairytales anthology series, while contributing to other anthologies like Smut Peddler and Sleep of Reason. She has also worked on the comics Buffy: The High School Years. She recently finished her creator-owned series Misfits of Avalon for Dark Horse Comics. She is currently working on her self-published series The City Between.
Tyler Crook began his art career as a graphic designer and 3D-modeler. After twelve years making sports video games, he switched to illustrating comics. Tyler is best known for his work with Cullen Bunn on Harrow County for Dark Horse Comics, which received an Eisner Award nomination for best new series in 2016 and won the best ongoing series Ghastly Awards in 2015 and 2016. Tyler remains almost completely analog, still drawing and painting on paper because he enjoys the physical process more than working digitally.
“I don’t know if I’m remembering this right, but I think I had a dream about climbing on giants and kept thinking I should come up with a story about them,” said The Stone King artist, Tyler Crook, who is illustrating and watercoloring each issue. “Then Kel and I were talking about how we should do a project together and I said ‘Let’s do something with giants!’ A few weeks later, she showed me the first outline for The Stone King. Our goal is to make a story that will engage the reader emotionally. We want to make sure the book can get into the hands of a kid and they will read it over and over.”
The Stone King #1 Rocks
Yes, I could not resist the pun. Still, the fact is that The Stone King #1 sets up a great fantasy tale.
Ave is not heroic, but she’s not a “bad guy” either. From the start, you can’t help but like her. She’s spunky, adventurous, and flawed. Her flying dog is also major points in her favor. Her buddy, Scritch, thinks the world of her, so while her living environment is rough, it’s not without its little bright spots.
She’s a very real person trapped in very difficult circumstances. Like many humans, she makes a decision based on what she thinks is best at the time. She’s not concerned about the greater good because she’s too mired in her own situation to have that luxury. But when all hell breaks loose and she’s faced with the very painful fact that she is the cause, it’s time to make a choice.
I’m going to be right here waiting eagerly for each issue of this series.
Originals: The Gift That Keeps Giving
The Stone King #1 is just the latest in a long line of ComiXology Originals including, Superfreaks by Elsa Charretier, Pierrick Colinet and Margaux Saltel, Elephantmen 2261: Death of Shorty by Richard Starkings, Axel Medellin and Boo Cook, Ask For Mercy by Richard Starkings and Abigail Jill Harding, Savage Game by Ryan Kalil, Shawn Kittelsen and Chris B. Murray, Grave Danger by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton, Goliath Girls by Sam Humphries and Alti Firmansyah, Teenage Wasteland by Magdalene Visaggio and Jen Vaughn, Hit Reblog by Megan Kearney and curated by Hope Nicholson, and that’s not an all-inclusive list.
ComiXology Originals are a gift that continues to give your favorite comic fan something new and exciting all through the year.
If you aren’t familiar with ComiXology Originals creator-owned comic books and graphic novels, then let me let you in on this secret: it’s a single price for a ton of great titles.
Comixology Unlimited is truly the perfect gift for your favorite comic lover. Not only can they read The Stone King #1, but they will also have access to over 15,000 comics, graphic novels and manga for just $5.99 a month (with a 30-day free trial). The average standard issue price of a single issue in your local comic book shop is $3.99. Do the math and you will find out that Comixology unlimited is a great value.
Start with The Stone King #1 and then explore a world of fun and exciting series this holiday season.