In David Petersen’s 2006 smash hit indie comic book, the brave Mouse Guard must protect the inhabitants of their realm from outside predators as well as from the traitors in their midst.
I often declare that when I win big money in the lottery, I’ll give up my career as a book editor to volunteer at my local comic book shop. In preparation for my new life, I often do, in fact, act as though I work at said shop. Last year, a guy came into the store looking to buy some non-superhero comics that would appeal to his girlfriend. Lucky for him, my generous and well-intentioned self was standing a foot away when he asked the cashier for a recommendation. “You should get her this one,” I said to him, pointing to Mouse Guard issue #1 “Belly of the Beast.”
I went on to explain that it’s a medieval fantasy adventure about a group of soldier mice who protect their land against predators and act as bodyguards to the other mice traveling through the various territories. I guess it seemed like a good enough premise, because the guy decided to buy it.
Little did I know at the time that David Petersen‘s little indie would go on to be the breakout title of the year. Or that the odd-sized (8″x8″) 6-issue series would become one of my favorite non-superhero comic books ever.
At first glance, Petersen’s sword-wielding caped mice might seem humorous, but the conspiracies, corruption, and betrayal that plague the world of Mouse Guard are deadly serious. Aside from the internal conflict within the mouse society, there’s the constant threat from their natural predators. It’s up to the brave mice that make up the Mouse Guard to act as bodyguards, guides, and protectors to all of the inhabitants of the mouse territories.
Three members of the Guard — Lieam, Kenzie, and Saxon — set out to find a grain merchant that went missing while traveling the roads alone. What begins as a simple search and rescue mission quickly leads to the uncovering of traitors, the secret of an old hermit’s past, and a plot to unleash an all-out civil war.
The trio fight for their lives and gain new allies during their dangerous journey, which culminates in an epic battle of relative proportions.
Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 is a refreshing change from the ordinary, much like Jeff Smith’s Bone. The hardcover edition collects the entire 6-issue run with an epilogue as well as an appendix of maps, guides, and pin-up gallery.
A Mouse Guard PVC set comes out in August 29, 2007. Also, Petersen is working on the next six issues of the series, which starts up in July 2007 and will be collected as Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 in winter 2008. See the preview art below (click image for large view).