British comics artist Jeff Anderson, whose work on the critically acclaimed Lion Graphic Bible earned him and writer Mike Maddox a prestigious Angouleme award in 2000, is busy at work on a new project — a five-part graphic novel from Highland Books.
Written by Steve Carroll and coloured by seasoned comic artist Richard Thomas, the first book of the Riddler’s Fayre series — The First Matter — is due for release in October 2005.
Setting the scene for an epic adventure which takes place between the Third and Fourth Crusades, Riddler’s Fayre tells the story of a band of outcasts from medieval Europe’s paranoid society, who are on a quest to solve a riddle tattooed on the arm of Aeden, a young Saxon boy who has lost his memory.
While some believe the riddle is the key to spiritual fulfillment, there are others abroad who think it will lead them to the ultimate in worldly wealth and power. The five stories take the band of friends across mostof Europe, North Africa and Palestine.
Comics artist David Lloyd is among those who have seen previews of the book, calling it “… a very interesting story that looks great!”
Both creators and publishers hope the series will entertain and bring back a sense of old-fashioned adventure and mystery.
The second book will be available in early 2006 and Jeff, perhaps best known for his Judge Dredd work, is already working on the pages.Set in London in the winter of 1199 AD, the second story is far darker than the first, with its descent into the labyrinth of the medieval city, along with a journey into the tortured psyche of a veteran of the Third Crusade.
Jeff’s Lion Graphic Bible took five years to complete and has had outstanding success since publication in 1998. Translated into 17 languages with UK sales of over 16,000 and 600,000 worldwide, it was released in paperback last year, and won the annual Prix de la Bande Dessinée Chrétienne at the annual Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Angouleme (the Graphic Novel’s equivalent of the Oscars – in France) in 2000.
“I couldn’t believe it,” says Jeff. “I thought someone was taking the mick!” It also won Norway’s Christian Bookseller’s Best Youth Book of the Year.
UPDATE 2015: Riddler’s Fayre Book One was published in 2006 as The Vaults of the Mind
Many have heard the myth of the Philosopher’s Stone, which, it is said, can turn base metals to gold and possibly, grant eternal life. Very few have learnt the secret of the First Matter, the mysterious element which can create the stone, and they are not in a hurry to share it. “Riddler’s Fayre” is a brand new series of graphic novels based in the times following the Third Crusade, and features a vanquished Crusader, a sorcerer’s apprentice, the Wandering Jew, an exiled English boy and his guardian, plus a showgirl and her Fayre – a troupe of travelling artisans and animals. All of them are united by one thing, the quest to put right the defeats of the past: perhaps, an alchemical riddle will give one team the advantage.
Riddler’s Fayre Book Two: Game of Revenge was published in 2007
Imagine the streets of medieval London in the reign of King John – we’re not talking Robin Hood here, you can almost smell greed, anger, treason in the air. Gangsters and streetwise urchins are the real rulers of these gutters and alleyways. You will see both chivalry and double-cross, as the Riddle extracts a cost from good and bad alike.
• For more information about the Riddler’s Fayre project and sample pages, visit the book designer’s web site, Inspiration by Design
• Buy the Lion Graphic Bible from Amazon.co.uk: Click Here