Most people know Brandon Sanderson as a novelist. He is one of the best fantasy writers out there right now, and maybe, all time. What a lot of people don’t know is that he has also dabbled in comics. His Cosmere Universe is not just limited to prose, but three spectacular graphic novels. Without further ado, I give you Whitesand
Written by Brandon Sanderson and Rik Hoskin
Illustrated by Julius Gopez (Vol.1 and 2), Julius Otha (Vol. 2), and Fritz Casas (Vol. 3)
Colors by Ross A. Campbell (Vol. 1), Morgan Hickman (Vol. 2), and Salvatore Aiala Studios (Vol.2 and 3)
Letters by Marshall Dillon (Vol. 1) and DC Hopkins (Vol. 2 and 3)
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
WhiteSand takes place on a planet called Taldain, where one side of the planet is perpetually in light, while the other is in darkness, called dayside and nightside resprespectivelyce upon a time, the dayside had magic in the form of Sand Masters, who could manipulate sand to do incredible things.
At the start of the trilogy, Kenton through sheer determination ends up joining the sand masters. His father didn’t want him to, but through Kenton’s bravery is awarded the rank of Mastrell. And then, disaster strikes and a battle takes place, wiping just about every sand mage out of existence, except for Kenton, who now is in charge of what remains in the diem. Surrounded by enemies from all sides, Kenton finds an unlikely ally with a dark side duchess named Khrisssalla who has her own reasons for enlisting the sand masters.
Volume 1 introduces the characters and the conflict. Kenton is trying to keep the diem in tact, and has to contend with enemies from all fronts to do so. Legally, Kenton has two weeks to figure out what to do as the council in Taisha decrees a vote to decide the fate of the diem.
In volume 2, the danger intensifies as assassins try to finish Kenton off, and the mystery of what has happened to the diem intensifies. Who does the diem owe money to? What are the agendas of those who serve the council?
In the final volume of the trilogy, questions are answered and Kenton has to defeat Drile, one of the other survivors for leadership, all the while trying to bring the diem and the sand masters remaining more into the world they live in, changing traditions and trying to become better, and in the process, Kenton learns a lot about the principals of leadership, and what kind of characteristics can he keep in his positions.
A lot of this series has to do with what happens when an organization loses touch with the people they serve. Hoskin does a great job of turning Sanderson’s novel into a very lean and fine story. Each volume contains a lot of action, and yet, there are all kinds of character moments for every character in the book.
My personal favorite was Ais, Kenton’s bodyguard. Her own beliefs condemn Kenton for his magic, and yet, watching him in action was a journey in her re-evaluating her beliefs, especially with the Sharezen assassins trying to kill Kenton. Her investigation leads to her own crisis point in the book. I loved her growth. Every character in the book changes throughout the series. This felt more like a novel in that sense than a traditional graphic novel.
Considering the various creative changes in the art, the books look consistent. Part of the credit goes to the design of the books. WhiteSand feels like a complex novel, and the look matches it. But Copez and Casas do match up fairly well. There are small differences, but there was definitely a template to this series that added up to it. Kudos to the entire art time for making this good.
All in all, I enjoyed it. This felt like a Sanderson novel in comic form, which for a Sanderson fan like me, is all you can as for.
The podcast continues to count down to 1000. I just did a heck of a drink and draw with Elsa Garagarza, and am lining up some of my favorite guests one last time, and a few new ones here and there. On top of that, I’ve launched my Patreon. I know if you’ve read the column early on, I’ve done it before. This time is different. I’ve been working on producing a show post 1000 now. I’ve already had some cool guests so far in Marc Watson and actress Barb Sims, and I got a few cool guests lined up going forward. It’s a new take on the show.
In addition to that, I have drawings and an ongoing novel there you can join in. Five dollars a month gets you all of that. Click here if you want to join and support my podcast as I am going on the road, and get some cool stories and art in the process.
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That will do it for another column. Next week I review an amazing kickstarter book I got in the mail. It blew me away.
Stay inspired out there.