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  1. Earthsong by Crystal Yates

    Saturday, November 28, 2009

    A young woman wakes up beneath a tree with no memories of her life, her name, or her location. She is given the name Willow and comes to learn that she is on Earthsong, a childless planet who has been charged with taking in the children of other planets when their planets elemental lifeblood seeps into them and creates a soul stone, giving the person great powers. All of the other visiting children have remnants of a last memory of their home world and, after a month of residing on Earthsong, can choose to have their soul stone removed so that they can return safely home or remain and use their abilities to defend Earthsong from Beluosus who wishes to take control of the carriers of the soul stones and the tools which Earthsong uses to remove them. The only problem for Willow is that she has no memory at all of what planet she is from and no one recognises her species.

    Today's review is of yet another webcomic, Earthsong by Crystal Yates. I love the originality (as far as I know) of this fantasy story which Crystal "Lady" Yates has planned out in great detail. At points, such as in Volume I, Chapter III: Genisis, the pages can get a little bogged down with dialogue in Yate's enthusiasm to describe her detailed world but this is an issue that she mostly works out better as the comic progresses. In comparison, it seems odd that Volume II, Chapter V: The Journal is only eighteen pages long. It is possible that this chapter was Yates experimenting with how best to distribute large amounts of information. Indeed, the pages were less convered with text but it did make for an oddly short chapter in comparison to the others.

    About two years ago, Yates decided to commence what has been referred to as the "redux" of Earthsong, editing and reposting the webcomic pages online. The old pages are now inaccessible and I did not start to follow the webcomic until after the redux had commenced so I have never read the old version to be able to compare the art of then and any changes to the story. Regardless, even throughout the course of the redux, Yates' art style changes, develops, and improves significantly. Compare, for example, the cover art for Volume I (above, left) to that of Volume III, Chapter VII: Revelation (below, right). There are mixed views out there on redoing webcomics like this but I think that it is a valid practice, especially if there are plans to publish the work into hard copy for sale. Consider that, although many webcomic creators try to keep a buffer of ready pages, they give themselves only a very limited schedule by which to produce these pages. I cannot blame an artist for wanting to make sure that their work is at the best quality that they can produce before putting it up for sale. The first volume of Earthsong is available for purchase but the publication of future volumes is currently uncertain.

    The cast of characters is notably female dominated, which they do discuss in-comic. The main character, Willow, is an interesting balance of meek innocence mixed with a real fiery streak. I have seen criticism of this but, personally, I think it works well.

    Earthsong is a webcomic of excellent quality with beautiful art and a great story. It is currently in to it's third volume and is not yet complete. Click on the banner below to go to the Earthsong website where you can read the entire webcomic, hence far, for free!


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