Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mouse House

by David Petersen

Published by Archaia Studios Press

Before Dan I knew a little about comics and graphic novels. Since Dan, I can hold my own at a comic convention with any comic book guy or gal. My usual reading is 19th century fiction, and a bit of 20th century modernism. This diet is bolstered with a bit of teen and children's fiction and by the occasional dip into modern adult fiction. Iris Murdoch and Margaret Atwood are probably my favourites in this category.

And now I also read comic and graphic novels. I like Dan's Doctor Who stories, for example. Mortal Beloved and The Deep Hereafter are particular stand-outs. I can even boast I've contributed an idea or two during Dan's 18 month tenure writing the 10th Doctor's adventures.

I also love Jersey Gods. Glen Brunswick is a jolly good writer and a lovely guy too.

One comic series I've really liked over the last couple of years is David Peterson's Mouse Guard. I'm hardly alone in this: it's been a big hit for Peterson. He was at the New York Comicon last year in artist's alley and I'd taken my book all the way from Dundee to get it signed. I'm such an idiot though I didn't go over. I can be weirdly shy sometimes.

The gorgeous artwork is just one of the reasons to get seriously into the series. Dan introduced me to the book when it first came out. We were living in London and were pottering around Forbidden Planet in Shaftesbury Avenue. We saw Kim Newman there! He was browsing the shelves, looking very dapper as always in a waistcoat, pocket-watch ensemble. He's quite short.

Mouse Guard is published in lovely little paper-back editions, eight inch square, full colour, and feature the adventures of a brave, intelligent colony of mice. The stories focus mainly on three characters: Leiam, Saxon and Kenzie, who are mighty warriors facing deceit in the first issue, then winter famine and attack in the second.

There is a collected edition of the first story and it looks beautiful - autumnal gold being the main theme of the cover. The second issue has a winter theme and the little mice, their mediaeval houses and their forest habitat looks timeless and iconic against the white falling snow.

Dan also got me the little PVC figurines of the little guys and they are actually very well done. So well done, in fact, that I was inspired to...well, build one of the little houses from the one of the stories. It's still a work in progress as it's a pretty big project. A wiring and lighting job is next. Is this sad?

This is the house I built

which is meant to look a bit like this:

The inside is far from finished:

and is modelled on the map-maker's room from the first series:

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