{Review} NAMESAKE, Volumes 1 + 2 by Megan Lavey-Heaton and Isabelle Melançon

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Check out the 
online webcomic
right now.

You can read it in its entirety 

(Here's the beginning!)

You can also buy physical editions
(Quality explored in the video below)
in the online shop!

In the interest of full disclosure, I've known Megan Lavey-Heaton for a number of years, since before the Namesake series existed. This, however, has no bearing on the following review!

The Namesake webcomic began in the fall of 2010. NAMESAKE is updated three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The story is currently on Volume 4. So far, Volumes 1 and 2 have been printed and bound thanks to two previous Kickstarter projects. A physical copy of Volume 3 will likely go up on Kickstarter by the end of 2014. There are also two non-related short comics, KNOT (What happens when you carry all of your worries knotted inside you?) and SILVER BUTTON (a modern adaptation of a Québécois folk tale set in the heart of Montréal’s subway system). I'd love to see the single issues bound together in an omnibus in the future and have a copy of that as well!

It's hard to talk about three (and a little bit of four) volumes of a series in one review, so this is more of a spoiler-free flash style. Sorry about that!

What, exactly, is a namesake?

©Megan Lavey-Heaton and Isabelle Melançon

The series centers around Emma Crewe, who discovers that she's a Namesake after she's whisked away to Oz. However, not all is as it seems and being a Namesake comes with a lot of perilous consequences. A lot of people want to claim Emma's power upon her return to the Modern World. No place is safe for a Namesake, especially one in the wrong story. Everyone in Oz thinks Emma is a Dorothy, but she's not. And Oz is suffering. Namesake also explores other tales such as Alice in Wonderland through side-stories, with cameos from classic tales such as The Red Shoes
Emma's relationship with her sister Elaine has also evolved, and after being off the page for a long while, we've seen more of Elaine's story recently as well. There's also more information now on the mysterious organization Calliope. There are also mysterious new characters on the page, as well as scenes that have begun answering some of the reader's many questions (While still creating new ones). I also like the fact that there are so many references and nods to the original Wizard of Oz, and not just referrals to the movie version. It makes me so happy to see characters most of society doesn't know about. I also loved seeing original characters and was always happy when they got page time!

The artwork is lovely, and I'm glad to have a physical copy because the bound copies are using nice quality paper that enhances the art and adds dimension to the color in a way you can't see online. I love the mix between black-and-white panels, color panels, and mixed panels. Even though I'd previously read the webcomic online, it was a pleasure to hold a bound copy and explore it in a brand-new way.

If you're a fan of stories that aren't retellings, but tell old tales in new ways as they twist everything together into one world, you'll fall in love with the story behind Namesake!
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

Rather than do a traditional post, I'm going back to a style I haven't used in a while:

Here's today's design vlog:

O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Title: NAMESAKE, Volume 1
NAMESAKE, Volume 2
Author: Megan Lavey-Heaton and Isabelle Melanço
Release Date: May 5, 2012
Publisher: Fairylogue Press

Namesake is the story of Emma Crewe, a woman who discovers she can visit other worlds. She finds out that these are places she already knows – fantasy and fairy lands made famous through the spoken word, literature and cinema. Her power as a Namesake forces her to act as a protagonist in these familiar stories as she figures out how to get home.
But as she travels, she discovers that those controlling her story have their own selfish goals in mind – and her fate is the key to everyone’s happy ending.
Join Emma, her sister Elaine and their friends as they tumble down the rabbit hole.
If you like, adventure, humor, stories of friendship, fairy tales and fantasy, this is the webcomic for you.