Wiley, Weird, and Wizardly
A review of Katie Shanahan and Steven Shanahan’s Silly Kingdom: Alengrimrickshaw’s 211th Birthday (www.sillykingdom.com, 2011)
By Derek Newman-Stille
I just got back from the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) and one of the first things that caught my attention was a short comic by Katie and Sreven Shanahan called Silly Kingdom.
As adorable as it is hilarious, Silly Kingdom: Alengrimrickshaw’s 211th Birthday is a tale of the magical in the mundane. It is a story of magical mishaps and jealousy by a 211 year old wizard who is jealous of a jester who performs magic tricks as part of his act. Katie and Steven Shanahan’s playfulness suffuses every page of this short comic involving an overly optimistic princess and a prince who enters far too easily into existential crises. This is a cute, fast paced, and exciting comic that brings humour and the fantastic together.
Silly Kingdom: Alengrimrickshaw’s 211th Birthday was originally a radio play that was adapted into graphic form, providing a fascinating view on the process of converting a tale from one format to another. One would think this would create a text-heavy comic, but the Shanahans have been able to adapt the story effectively to graphic novel pacing. The story is as much told by the hyper-expressive facial features and exuberance of movement by the characters as it is by the dialogue.
To discover more about Silly Kingdom: Alengrimrickshaw’s 211th Birthday and about the ongoing work of Katie and Steven Shanahan, go to http://sillykingdom.tumblr.com/about