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eternal tales
solid writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 2
total score 8
Eternal Tales
Only Printing / 1972 / 28 pages / Terry Stroud
Eternal Tales Back Cover
Back Cover
(click for larger image)

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This is another one of John Thompson's ornate and esoteric comic books featuring the adventures of a Tibetan shaman named Thon and an evil enemy named hGwa. Like Eternal Comics and the two issues of Sphinx Comics, Eternal Tales has one long story about Thon and hGwa engaged in a battle between good and evil, but Eternal Tales' story is unrelated to the specific timeline that links the other three books.

This standalone story is titled "Shaman Prophecy" and it begins with Thon and his priestess wife Rda being abducted from Earth by friendly "star-pilot" space travelers. After being transported to the star-pilots' space ship, the captain of the ship pleads with Thon to use his magical powers to rescue his civilization on another planet, which Thon reluctantly agrees to do.

As Thon and Rda travel to the planet Midin, the captain relays the story of his planet's terrible conflict with hGwa, the demon of fear. Thon and Rda arrive on Midin, where Thon explores a mystical inner world before finally meeting up with hGwa. In a dizzying and surreal sequence, Thon defends his state of mind against hGwa's attempts to confuse him, which results in defeating the demon's threats. Thon and Rda are suddenly transformed back to planet Earth, where Thon wonders if everything that had just happened was just a dream.

Thompson achieves an interesting trick by literally integrating the comic book Eternal Tales into the story as a plot device. He also uses upside-down and mirrored writing and illustration to convey the illusive encounter between hGwa and Thon. "Shaman Prophecy" has a serpentine plot and passages of fairly dense narrative, but these can be overlooked without losing track of the action. As always, Thompson's ink drawings are exquisitely detailed and worth lingering over regardless of the story.
Terry Stroud printed approximately 1,000 copies of this comic book. It has not been reprinted. John Thompson signed the inside back cover of many (but not all) copies of the book. The interior of this book consists of 12 individual sheets of 7.75x10.5" paper that are stapled inside the covers along the left edge of the sheets. Therefore, the book is not easy to open completely and lay flat. I removed the staples to scan the interior sample pages for this site.

John Thompson - 1-28