“In the world of Mouse Guard, mice struggle to live safely and prosper amongst harsh conditions and a host of predators. Thus the Mouse Guard was formed: more than just soldiers, they are guides for common mice looking to journey without confrontation from one village to another. They see to their duty with fearless dedication so that they may not simply exist, but truly live.”
I’m happy to introduce our newest ongoing feature, Sunday Comics, a semimonthly series focusing on comic books, graphic novels, and other stories told through a combination of visual and written media. Sunday Comics articles will be written by the Bookish Ladies and feature guest posts by Jim, our Bookish Gentleman aka the Hijacked Hubby, who you’ll meet in this Sunday’s official first post. I know it’s not Sunday but I wanted to kick off the new feature with an extra post focusing on one of my all time favorite series, Mouse Guard by David Petersen.
Flashback to April 2009. In a moment of weakness, and perhaps excessive sleepiness, I agreed to Jim’s idea that we go to San Diego Comic Con as our summer vacation (yes, that was when you could decide to go three months out and still get a good hotel and a 4 day pass). In return I got a stopover in San Fransisco, a trip to the zoo, and a new obsession with comic books. Now I wasn’t a comic book virgin before our trip but I never read a series regularly, collected, or anywhere close to obsessed over a comic book series before. Enter Mouse Guard. In a break from the crazy toy lines and the seemingly endless number of panels I was forced to sit through, I decided to make a solo trip through Artist Alley. In the midst of super heros and anime girls, I stumbled upon David Petersen’s table of mice. With swords. I was immediately drawn in.
Mouse Guard is the New York Times Bestselling, Eisner and Harvey Award winning
comic book series created, written, and illustrated by David Petersen. Set in ancient times (the first book begins in 1152), mice live in a society much like our own. They must defend their homes, families, and society while living a normal life. The Mouse Guard is an elite order whose duty is to protect the mouse settlements and their citizens from predators and other dangers. In Fall 1152 (the first mini-series) three Guard Mice Liam, Kenzie and Saxon are sent to find a missing merchant. While investigating his disappearance, their search reveals a traitor within the mouse guard itself.
After talking with Petersen for about five minutes I decided that I absolutely needed to buy the first book. And silly me thought I might just stop there. HA! Seven years later my Mouse Guard collection looks a little like this:
I say “a little” because there is so much missing from this photo. In the past few years, Mouse Guard has exploded into a brand that merely begins with the books. In addition to the core books, here is a second series, Legends of the Guard, which can be called the mice answer to The Canterbury Tales. In addition to books, there are toys, replica collectables, a role playing game, a board game (which is WONDERFUL btw), and a plethora of prints and original art. Psst see that picture of the mouse reading on the left? The original of that is hanging in my living room 🙂
Mouse Guard is a true all ages story. It’s kid-friendly while retaining a depth that is sure to please even the pickiest of adults. Petersen’s story-telling is consistently spot on and his art is simply beautiful. This series of pictures is from the second book, Winter 1152, and shows how detailed the art in these books really is. Taken from the black and white special edition the first two photos show this page’s main artwork and a snowy overlay. The third shows the final finished page as seen in the full color regular edition.
Whether you’re currently a comic book fan or you haven’t discovered them yet, I highly recommend that you explore Mouse Guard and Petersen’s other works, including his upcoming illustrated edition of the classic Wind in the Willows by . You can find out more about Mouse Guard on the official website and check out tumblr for more of Petersen’s art and other projects.