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The Daily Read: 12/14

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Many fantasy webcomics have evolved from Tolkien-informed Dungeons & Dragons, World of Warcraft or some other combination of role-playing games. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with this – the settings and characters are familiar, the rules easily in place, and the archetypes ripe for reconstructing and deconstructing. The one point this raises though, is when something comes along largely or entire separate from this notion of fantasy, it tends to stand out and it tends to make waves.

Jungle Fire is certainly this something. Bypassing the traditional manga/anime-style normally attached to most fantasy webcomics, Jungle Fire is lusciously rendered exactly like the green jungle setting it intones. And though webcomic readers will find several hallmarks of traditional fantasies herein, including elves and magic, the overall experience is far unlike anything out there right now.

The story centers on the elf Foxeye, a 400 year old elven warrior woman who heads an unusual family alongside Ketai and Rakyn, members of a race of bipedal cats known as the ferenabu. Foxeye not only plays co-parent to Ketai and Rakyn’s young son Irianta but also Vii, a young female from a race of lizards known as the Thralls. And if that wasn\\'t enough, father figure Rakyn is long since dead, seen only by Foxeye and no one else. And you thought your family had issues?

Only twenty-two pages in, Jungle Fire is hampered by art delays and hiatuses, but creators Jerelyn and Kael maintain just enough web presence to keep the readers engaged. However, when the art is this extraordinary, some things are just worth waiting for. The writing is equally engrossing, lending quite a lot depth and personalities to all of the characters, especially Foxeye.

Still, there are some moments where the dialogue and prose could use some editing, appearing too lengthy or too vague at times. Overall, however, Jungle Fire is an exceedingly professional production, and delays side, every bit the online graphic novel the work aspires to be. This is one webcomic I wouldn’t hesitate to buy off of the book shelves. One look at the art is all it takes to become lost in this jungle! 

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