What are the rules of fantasy comics? Well, they're fantasy comics so theoretically you can do whatever you want with 'em. I mean, it's fantasy, meaning anything goes. But that's not how it works out in practice. In practice fantasy comics slavishly follow a whole slew of rules that force them all to adhere to genre tropes, to fill their pages with cliches, and to generally tell the same stories over and over, because that's Just How It's Done, Bob, Obviously You Don't Understand How Fantasy Works. First rule? The first rule is that there are one or two good works and the rest is garbage. Actually that rule comes from fantasy's mortal enemy, science fiction, but you get the gist. Second rule?
The second rule is that you gotta have unicorns, dragons, elves, and more. Hey, why not throw some kings in there? Gotta have some kings. Unicorns, dragons, elves, kings, you're set!
It all has to take place on a fantasy world that has nothing to do with boring old mundane Earth, except that it has things like royalty and feudalism, and it's filled with the legendary beasts and monsters of Earth, and it has a yellow sun and a blue sky and green grass and all that Earth stuff. But it's totally not Earth.
Also the fantasy story has to involve a prophecy that "fortold" all the amazing things that we're about to see happen. Because in fantasy works, prophecies ALWAYS come true.
Here we see our hero, a young Robotech action figure, meet his new friend Lisa Frank the Unicorn, who wins friends with homelessness and tears.
And yes, here's a heretofore unheard of rule of fantasy comics, every single page has to have heraldic illuminations at the top and bottom, for the important fantasy comics reason being that the more space you fill up with design elements, the less story you have to draw.
Fantasy Comics rule #8, evil dragons appear from out of nowhere.
Turns out unicorns can teleport using the power of their horns! That's a new one. Good on you, Unicorn Kings, for bringing something new to the fantasy table.
Why are you desperately running away from the dragon? Can't you fly? Can't you teleport? We just saw you teleport. Oh, these fantasy comics. So confusing.
Fortunately the woods in fantasy epics are filled with magical talking beasts that lead you to safety. The woods in OUR boring old world are filled with non-magical beasts that knock you down and steal your lunch. And then, if we aren't talking about the woods behind the high school, there might even be animals!
Fantasy Rule #21, if you see a lion you'd probably better bow down to it and treat it like it's royalty, because it's probably Jesus in disguise, thank you C.S. Lewis. Even if it isn't some sort of magical god-creature, it's best to stay on their good side.
And so it has begun! Your mystical quest that has been "fortold" in prophecies and that will unfold like the pages of a great and thrilling epic saga of adventure, allowing you to meet your destiny and avoid those who may "destoy" you!
We go if your bidding sacred lion. Are you bidding? If you are, then we go. Dunno what eBay has to do with this, maybe you can find the "light sword" there, do a lot of bidding, win the "light sword," we won't have to go anywhere, is that what you're saying? Or do we go? I'm confused.
Meanwhile we check in on Rule #44, which is that there has to be an evil queen somewhere.
Here Queen Serpentor clues the readers in on exactly why that unicorn didn't just teleport away from the dragon, there's a completely arbitrary Fantasy Rule in effect saying unicorns can only teleport once a day. You'd think that if you went a day without teleporting, that unused teleport would carry over, but it doesn't work like that, you can't expect Human Resources to keep track of everybody's carried over teleport days. Then Frank over in accounting, who never teleports, he'd have like a hundred teleports saved up and we'd never see him again.
Don't you dare threaten Queen Snake Lady with fire! Now go get rid of that gas. You don't want to hold it in, that's not healthy. Ugh, what did you eat? Gaaah!
Sometimes I wonder why I ever put up with you, Blackfire. Why can't you be more like your older dragon brother Mordrid? I wonder what Mordrid is doing right now? Probably not embarrasing me is what he's probably doing!
Why, Mordrid is politely informing the villagers that the Queen is their new ruler in the time-honored fantasy world fashion, by burning their houses down while wolves howl in the air. No, wait, that's just a page decoration. Anyway enjoy this appearance of Mordrid, because this is all you get.
Days later our intrepid companions are wandering around the mountains complaining a lot and correcting each other's grammar. Come for the unicorns and dragons, stay for the petty backbiting and whining!
Why yes, this IS like every Dungeons & Dragons game ever!
Maybe "White Lion" could have just given them all his directions at once, instead of spacing them out like a series of best-selling hair metal albums. But we don't want to question the wisdom of "White Lion" and their double-platinum hair metal power!
Dammit Roth, if you'd only spent more time at the dragon gym maybe you'd be ripped enough and have sweet enough guns to carry us all over the mountains! Or maybe the unicorn could teleport us, but I'm sure there some kind of arbitrary fantasy rule about THAT, too.
Hey kids, color the unicorn, and the unicorn-lion, and the Robotech action figure, but look out for the scary thing in the cave!
You know, like fantasy, comics has its own set of storytelling rules, and one of those is the "180 degree rule", which says the artist should keep the same orientation when depicting characters interacting with each other. But like so many other rules, this comic just crumples it up and throws it in the elaborately decorated trash can.
Boy, I thought we were going to get through this entire comic without once seeing pointillism. No escape, I guess. Anyway, we're down to our last fantasy epic rule, which is that fantasy epics are gigantic, sprawling, multi-volume sagas that go on and on and on until you take them all to the Half-Price Books just to get them out of the house, and the Unicorn Kings is no exception, this being merely the first part in a Brobdingnagian mythos that... no, wait, we forgot a much more powerful rule, the rule of independently published black and white comics from the 1980s, which says that whether you know it or not, you only get one issue. Sorry White Lion, I guess you will never get your Light Sword.
That doesn't stop them from promising more Unicorn King adventure next time, though. Man, just imagine what would happen if Dragonhealer met Dragonslayer? Together they'd be like, healing? Slaying? Don't matter! We got you covered!
Oh Queen Serpentor. Will you ever defeat GI Joe? There's probably some kind of stupid rule about THAT, too.
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