Comic Book: Thieves & Kings
From left to right: Soracia, Katara, Quinton, Varkias, Rubel and HeathThieves & Kings
is an all-ages comic book
series by Mark Oakley, with six volumes published and more to come. Not much is available online, though there are sample chapters
, a few webstrips
and a spin-off
is a Fantasy
story, with a Fairy Tale
feel, but surprising depth. The story format shifts back and forth from text with drawn background to pure comics, depending on which format suits the moment.
This comic provides examples of:
- Aerith and Bob: So much. For examples, here are the names of a few secondary characters; Sara, Jenny, Smith Robins, Calypso, Catastrophe, Cespinarve Rogue.
- Artificial Limbs: Locumire gets one after Heath cuts off one of her arms.
- Author Tract: The Walking Mage is a very thinly-disguised political satire.
- Badass Princess: Katara.
- The Bechdel Test: Passes. Averting The Smurfette Principle tends to have that effect.
- Big Bad: Ramanious Kath.
- Black Bead Eyes: Usually. Every once in a while, a character's eyes will be drawn with more detail than usual to emphasize an important moment.
- Born Winner:
- Everyone with Fairy Blood is this.
- Quinton. Soracia laments that even after spending a century practicing painting, she still couldn't do as good as what Quinton did on his first try. Using a stick he picked up from the ground, a nearby tent for canvas, and some berries mixed with mud for paint. His second try was even better, only he got bored in the middle of it, and walked away. That's Quinton for you.
- Cain and Abel:
- Katara (the Abel) and Kangar (the Cain).
- Soracia (the Cain) and the Red Sorceress (the Abel).
- Quinton (the Abel) and the Big Bad (the Cain).
- Chick Magnet: Rubel is becoming one, as befits the mystique of becoming a Thief.
- Constructed World
- Crazy-Prepared: Quinton takes this over the top. As in "I planted this tree 100 years ago because I knew I'd need it right about now."
- Create Your Own Villain: Quinton accidentally became responsible for Locumire's Start of Darkness when he mistook her for one of the Red Sorceress's incarnations.
- Cute Ghost Girl: Sara Blue.
- Dark Magical Girl: Kimithin, Leahanna and Soracia.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Heath defeats Jurid by trapping him in a bottle, which is apparently impressive enough to make Klachilies the Gorgon afraid of her.
- Draco in Leather Pants: An In-Universe example: Soracia is the main villain of the first three volumes. Heath and Varkias think she's evil, but Rubel insists she's just a misunderstood Woobie who needs to be rescued from the real villains. Turns out he was only half right; Soracia is perfectly capable of rescuing herself.
- Evil Old Folks: Jenny's mother, Vale. Her numerous Kick the Dog moments include using blackmail to force her daughter to get married, threatening to turn Heath over to Locumire, and killing Rubel's dog.
- Evil Prince: Kangar.
- Fairy Companion: Varkias is pretty much this to Rubel, apart from being a small winged demon rather than a fairy.
- False Innocence Trick: In a flashback, Rubel and his friends fall victim to this.
- Gambit Pileup
- Gambit Roulette: Quinton seems to rely a lot on this trope.
- Genius Loci: The Sleeping Wood.
- The Ghost: Ramanious Kath.
- Good Costume Switch: Soracia's epic Heel-Face Turn culminates with the cutting off of her beribboned evil black cloak. It then forms up into a dummy shape of her and cries that it loves her. After that she wanders around in a fairly average cloak and skirt combo that still manages a certain amount of flair and swirl when she swings her longswords, but doesn't reek of black magic.
- Guile Hero: Quinton, is the master of this trope, to the point that we only have the word of Soracia and hints of his impossible age to give any sign that he's a wizard at all and not just some eccentric yarn-spinner. He seems to operate entirely on talent, force of personality, and bizarre luck.
- Heel-Face Turn: Soracia and Kimithin.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Kimithin and Leahanna (before Kimithin's Heel-Face Turn, anyway) are an extreme example since they've been together for thousands of years.
- I Have Many Names: Soracia is also known as "The Shadow Lady", "The Queen of Halves", and "Lady Salina". Her friends call her "Sally". Being much older than her, Quinton Zempfester presumably has a lot more (he was definitely called "Kaluvinar" in the long distant past).
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The first five volumes are named after their covers' colour schemes; The Red Book, The Green Book, The Blue Book, The Shadow Book, and The Winter Book.
- Impossible Thief: Rubel is on his way to becoming one of these when he grows up. His uncle McGi has performed impossible feats such as retrieving a girls lost memories and intimidating the hell out of a dragon who ate entire cities.
- A major theme of the setting is that by dedicating yourself to living the ideal of larger-than-life fairy-tale existence, whether it be a thief, a knight, a wizard, or whatever, you can become magical yourself. Rubel is an Impossible Thief because he is a Thief (with a capital-T).
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: Soracia is clad in ribbons of living shadow.
- Kudzu Plot
- Lady and Knight: Katara and Rubel.
- Lady of War: Soracia.
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine:
- The Red Sorceress (Light) and Soracia (Dark).
- Heath (Light) and Katara (Dark).
- Kimithin (Light) and Leahanna (Dark).
- Living Shadow: Jurid.
- Lost Woods: The Sleeping Wood definitely qualifies. Also a Genius Loci that doesn't like humans very much. Or roads. Oh, and if you follow the path through it, you get to the Fairy kingdom.
- Manipulative Bastard: Locumire and (maybe) Quinton.
- Mayfly-December Romance: What Soracia's relationship with Rubel would be. Which is why she wanted to steal his soul, so they could be together forever.
- Medieval Stasis: Without explanation — there have been (many, many) wars, mind, but Heath moves from centuries in the past to join the other main characters and no one even comments on her accent.
- Medium Blending
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Ramanious Kath and his Dragons, Jurid "Dawn Swallower" and Klachilies "The Gorgon".
- Not as You Know Them: Katara at the beginning of the first volume is very different from the Well-Intentioned Extremist Badass Princess she later becomes.
- Past-Life Memories: Katara has very detailed memories of the Red Sorceress's past incarnations.
- Physical God: Possibly Quinton. Soracia refers to him as a god at one point, but it's unclear if she is being literal.
- Really 700 Years Old: Soracia and Quinton are older than some major geological features. Locumire is also quite old.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Heath gives a fantastic one to Vale.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Leahanna (Red) and Kimithin (Blue).
- Scenery Porn
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Jurid is a powerful monster, but spent a thousand years or so stuck in a glass bottle.
- Soaperizing: The story focuses just as much on the characters' relationships as it does on the Epic Battle Between Good and Evil™.
- Soft Glass: Averted by Rubel; he does go through a couple windows, but in the first case he is just opening the window, not breaking it, and in the second case, recognizing that going through a window can kill you but having no choice, he hides in a large iron pot.
- Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: Varkias and later, Basil.
- Talking Animal: Played with. Kimithin, Heath and Varkias can hear Basil (a cat) when he talks, but it just sounds like meowing to Rubel (who can only talk to dogs, horses and mice). When Kim asks Basil if Leahanna's cat can also talk, he says: "Not to humans."
- Take That: Several of the side stories start with Quinton getting a really bad idea (usually inspired by George W. Bush) and sucking gullible people into his (inevitably disastrous) plan.
- Talking Your Way Out: When Quinton is imprisoned by trolls, he talks his way out by excitedly greeting one of the trolls as the spy sent to free him, thus creating suspicion among the other trolls that he actually is a spy, and setting in motion a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the hapless troll finds that he is doomed to torture for his imaginary spy secrets if he does not go rogue and flee immediately. Rather than face this fugitive fate alone, Quinton offers the troll his assistance, if released, and the two make a break for it together.
- Temporal Paradox: Heath and Katara are technically the same person (both being Reincarnations of the Red Sorceress), but exist at the same time due to Time Travel. It's implied that this is seriously messing with Katara's sanity.
- Textplosion: Thieves & Kings is about 50% comic pages and 50% illustrated text.
- Time Abyss: Quinton. To give you an idea of just how old he is, Soracia is young compared to him and she's ten thousand years old.
- Undying Loyalty: Soracia's Lamp Knights are a literal example.
- Unreliable Expositor: Quinton and Katara. The latter is implied to be a little bit insane, and as for Quinton... well, either he's genuinely very forgetful, a manipulative liar or both.
- Woman in Black: Soracia.