The Legend of Steel Bashaw makes you wish that people like the Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Andersen were still writing whimsical fairytales–stories that are as complex as they are simple–and filled with the tall tales of giants, dragons, and rich kings. Like those classic fairytales, The Legend of Steel Bashaw is a rare treasure.
If you pull yourself away from the charm to really examine a fairytale, they’re short and choppy and things happen all too coincidentally–usually due to some fairy or magic gnome’s intervention. Yet, those conventions do not matter because fairytales fulfill our need for high adventure and romance without ever having to leave the safety of our comfy couches. To be so caught up in the wonder of a story like this causes us to look past the fact that an entire story, beginning to end, is passing in less than thirty pages.
In the case of The Legend of Steel Bashaw it’s hard for me not to relate my experience with the book.
It was a few years back that I first came in contact with Flesk Publications and Steel Bashaw, at Wonder Con, and it had yet to be translated into English. The copy I originally saw, Legenda o Baš-Čeliku was in Siberian. Despite not knowing what the text said, I was pulled in by the phenomenal paintings that narrated it. I might go as far as saying that Petar Meseldžija‘s art is spellbinding. Steel Bashaw had bound itself to me, and I couldn’t get it off my mind. To hold something so breathtaking was like falling in love.
It might sound like I’m playing this up, but trust me, I’m being most sincere.
Now, Steel Bashaw is not a traditional comic. In fact, it’s a picture book really, but as long as it has words and pictures I think it counts as a graphic novel, and the artwork absolutely takes center stage.
The story is standard fairytale fare about the brave King Marco’s quest to find his sister and save his beloved from the grasp of Steel Bashaw, the evil dragon, but the artwork will draw you away from the story. It’s almost a shame that it works out like that. The only place I’ve seen artwork that outshines that in Steel Bashaw is in a museum.
Sometimes I get a book that is so good it’s hard to do it justice. I should be able to write pages about how amazing and wonderful and fantastic a book is. However, with a book this good words escape me completely. When all is said and done, The Legend of Steel Bashaw is magical. It’s the type of book that people will read for their own enjoyment and will also want to share with their children. It should not be missed.