For today’s creator spotlight we wanted to do something a bit different. Instead of focusing on a famous creator, we decided to shine the spotlight on one of our personal favorites. Some time ago we had the pleasure of reading an all-ages comic book series called Farlaine the Goblin. And while we don’t typically delve into that genre of books, we gave it a shot. It was well worth it (as you can see by our Fast and Easy Review of the first four volumes).
Luckily, the fifth volume was released not long after that review. Unfortunately, all it did was leave us chomping at the bit for the final volumes to get released. No matter, this is a fantastic series people of any age will enjoy. The art is phenomenal. The dialogue is witty and fun. And most importantly, the story is great. We couldn’t find anything we didn’t like about the series so far.
This brings us to the unique and massively talented—albeit anonymous—creator, Pug Grumble. Pug (as you’ll find out in our interview) doesn’t want recognition as a person, but rather simply wants people to enjoy Farlaine the Goblin. I don’t think it gets much more genuine than that. After all, isn’t the passion for making great art the reason we become creators in the first place?
But before I get too far off track, let’s talk about the series. “Farlaine the Goblin, a shaman from the Forest of Fin-Din, has spent years wandering the very many Oddlands of Wug in search of a forest to call his own.” A simple enough premise; an optimistic goblin is in search of a forest where he can plant his little tree friend, Ehrenwort.
The premise is where things stop being simple, though. You see, while out on his adventure, Farlaine encounters all kinds of amazing things: living beings made of salt, a place where you can only move if you’re involved in some sort of race, and crazy robots! It’s such an enjoyable journey to follow.
Not only that, Farlaine is such a great character as well. You really feel for the little guy. Which is strange because one, he’s a goblin, and two, his concept art was somewhat menacing compared to how he turned out. At the end of book four Pug talks about what a major influence artist and creator Todd McFarlane was. Hence the name Farlaine the Goblin. But it’s not just the name that seeped into this series; it’s the art style as well.
Pug Grumble has a wonderful art style that’s very reminiscent of McFarlane’s. This is best demonstrated in the concept art for the series which shows Farlaine as more ogre-like than friendly goblin (see above picture). Of course, a mean and scary goblin would not be great for an all-ages book. No matter how fantastical its adventure were.
Pug managed to reel in the harshness of the concept drawing, though, and craft a perfect creature for the story. And honestly, it’s really a perfect fit. Not just in the art, but the writing as well. Farlaine is such a likable protagonist. He’s optimistic, overcomes struggles and obstacles, and helps those in need. A perfect character for children to read about and relate to. Farlaine sets a great example for kids without shoving morality down their throats or shaming them into doing what’s right. It might just be a cartoon goblin, but the character gives the reader a warm, loving feeling. Trust us, you’ll get sucked right into this series.
If I may change gears slightly, I’d like to talk about the physical quality of Farlaine the Goblin. You see, when we first reviewed the series, we only had four digital issues. But to really appreciate these books, you must read the print versions. It’s so much better of an experience that way.
These books are designed to be held and thoroughly enjoyed. They aren’t shaped like normal comic books. They are instead longer horizontally and rest comfortable across your chest as you sit. The books and the pages are made from a nice glossy material (perfect for kids because they don’t rip as easily and can be wiped off if something is spilled on them). The covers are beautifully colored and look more like art books than a comic—which is perfect for the sophisticated adult who may not want comic books sitting out in the open. There’s also an alternate cover for the fifth book which is made of pirate paper and looks really neat. Definitely worth collecting.
While this is a creator spotlight, Pug Grumble would much rather have people talk about the series than the creator. So, that’s what we’ll do starting with the first book. Of course, I’ll just give you folks a quick breakdown of each book so I don’t spoil anything for your. Also, as of now we’ve only read five books out of the seven.
Book one: The Tinklands introduces us to Farlaine and his tree Ehrenwort. We learn about his mission, how he has already been through many realms looking for a forest, and that he has seeds which he can use to make magical things happen. Farlaine reaches a place called the Tinklands where he ends up waking and getting chased by a crazy army of robots, the Tinks. You’ll also notice the unique way Pug uses panels throughout which adds a whole new layer to the reading experience.
Book two: The Saltlands has Farlaine entering a land where all of the creatures are made of salt. It’s a very strange world for him as he stumbles upon a whole town made of salt. Even the mayor is made of salt! He finds one of the killer robots in this town, only this one is friendly. Being the swell guy Farlaine is, he befriends the robot and saves him from the precarious predicament the salt people trapped him in. This book really shows the imagination of Pug Grumble as the whole town of weird characters unfold.
Book three: The Racelands takes Farlaine, Ehrenwort, and their new Tink friend to the Racelands. This land is very bizarre as everyone who enters gets frozen in place unless they race with somebody. This leads to a whole world where everyone is constantly racing each other to get around. The gang end up finding themselves in a race where the winner gets their own forest. And believe us, the race is wonderfully exciting.
Book four: The Twistlands. What a cool place the Twistlands is. There are mini, big, and huge tornadoes everywhere. Everything in this land is pretty much a tornado. There are even guys in this land who go around collecting mini tornados to sell. But not all is good with this world. Poor Ehrenwort gets sucked up in a gigantic twister and it’s up to Farlaine to save the day.
Book five: The Vaultlands was my favorite book so far. It was such a unique idea and the way this volume is written is amazing. The land is literally a world of giant vaults inside of one mega vault. Everything is a vault with all kinds of crazy stuff stored in them. There’s also very strange people and creatures living in these vaults. And while each volume of the series has plenty of action, this one really gets you invested. You have no idea what’s going to happen and you really get pulled into the mystery of the place.
When it comes to Farlaine the Goblin, I can’t give it anything less than a perfect score. This series has far exceeded my expectations in every way. And as far as Pug Grumble goes, there’s no way we don’t see the name in the industry before long. Pug has put so much love and effort into this series. I could only imagine the quality of work we’d see if Pug was getting a steady paycheck from a major publisher. Here’s hoping it happens sooner than later!
Anyway, I hope we were able to convince you folks to give this series and Pug a chance. Trust us, you won’t regret it. If you support great art, you must support Farlaine the Goblin. Now, make sure to read our interview with Pug Grumble. You don’t want to miss it.