Hey guys, below is the script for my YouTube Review of the comic Tadhya Exordium by Quinn Howard. You can either read the review here or watch the video @ YouTube. Please like the video if you can and subscribe to my YouTube channel to help me out.
Introduction to Tadhya: Exordium
One of my favorite YouTube channels is Quinn’s Ideas. I can hardly remember there was a time when I didn’t watch it. Quinn’s Ideas started out by covering mostly Dune, with some Game of Thrones mixed in but in the last two years he has broadened his coverage to include Foundation, Hyperion and the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Thus, it appears Quinn and I have everything in common. Thus, it didn’t come as a surprise he started his own fiction project, the fantasy comic Tadhya. While I am relatively new to reading comics, thanks to Quinn I have delved into Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman and Jodorowsky’s The Incal. Now after two years what started as an Indiegogo project has finally been completed with the first volume Tadhya: Exordium now being released to backers. And this is a review of the digital version.
Dune and the Bene Gesserit
While watching Quinn’s Dune videos you quickly get the impression that the all-female Bene Gesserit are amongst his favorite characters in Frank Herbert’s fictional universe. They are certainly mine. That, combined with some other influences ensured Tadhya would be about witches and witchcraft. But before I analyze Tadhya in detail let me describe what it is about.
Tadhya starts when two witches approach Lord Steffron in the night about the bargain they had struck decades back. In favor of being lifted out of poverty and into the nobility Steffron would give the witches his eldest daughter. As you may guess Steffron is not keen to honor the bargain but unlike other instances of this trope he is not stupid either. The witches command him to leave his home unguarded. This leaves the witches of Hecate an opportunity to impregnate his eldest daughter using magical means, from which Tadhya is born.
The headstrong child appears fascinated with the old legends of the witches and their ancient enemy Balor. The latter is on the rise but can only send fragments of himself into the realm, called Fomori. These are capable of possessing humans and are responsible of a number of murders. Tadhya and her new chambermaid Eceta decide to stop them. While ultimately successful by the end of Exordium it is discovered that the witches of Hecate allowed one of the Fomori to pass from Otherworld to this realm in order to activate Tadhya’s special powers. Their intention for this remains unknown.
What struck me first and foremost about Tadhya is how Quinn has created fully fleshed out fictional universe with its own rules and rituals. This part can be both fun to do for any author but also hard. I know how it can be done from the method described by author Orson Scott Card from his non-fiction book How To Write Science Fiction & Fantasy. Quinn’s Tadhya feels as one of the better thought-out fictional worlds.
Tadhya: Exordium is ripe with many influences from popular culture. As mentioned, there is fair amount of inspiration from the Bene Gesserit sisters from Dune in the Sisters of Hecate. Their powers and independence being two noteworthy. But I also see influences from Cinderella, especially with Tadhya’s difficult relationship with her stepmother. The evil named Balor and his Fomorians stem from Irish mythology. Dungeon’s & Dragons also has an evil named Balor, though I am not certain of Quinn was influenced by it. Finally, there are parallels to The Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman. There is a similar importance to the dream world
There are also familiar tropes within Tadhya. The sisters of Hecate are witches who live in the forest. Their lives and power are under threat from a new religion whose god is referred to as The Father with its own bible called the Holy Tome. Thus, the feminine naturalist world is threatened by the masculine artificial.
One of the best parts of Tadhya: Exordium is the artwork. The drawings made by Matthew Weldon blends medieval realism with fantasy. The setting and characters have considerable detail and add a lot to the sense of immersion. This is topped off by the wonderful color palette used by colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu. The dark blues of the night, the glow of hearths inside a room and the amazing color explosion caused by magic are unlike anything I have seen before. I am not certain how much both artists have cooperated on this book but it feels like they did, both styles enhance each other and the story.
Tadhya could have been a book, and had it been a book no doubt the second volume would already have been released, but this comic book is something special.
Final Opinion on Tadhya: Exordium
Yes, I can see many influences within Tadhya: Exordium, consciously or not. But I think Tadhya succeeds on its own just as well. While I would have loved it to be a longer comic book it is surprisingly effective as an introduction or beginning which is what Exordium means. Tadhya’s journey in the story is a complete one as she battles the forces of Balor. There is even a lengthy prologue that reminds me a lot of The Sandman with its theme of betrayal and broken promises.
Exordium is such a self-contained story, while a cliffhanger is present it does not dominate. I hope Quinn will manage to continue this series. I think Exordium is a labor of love that lasted almost three years. No doubt a second book should be produced more quickly. I understand there were some production difficulties culminating in a change of letterer. Haste may be the cause for one or two typos, but they are not a big deal.
I hope I will get my hardback copy soon. Tadhya: Exordium was not meant to be read from a computer screen. Check out the link in the description for the Indiegogo page for Tadhya. Also don’t forget to check out Quinn’s channel. Finally, if you enjoyed this video then please click the like button. If you want more content like this then please hit the subscribe button, that will help my channel grow.