Review: Legends of Log (Alterna Comics – Monochrome May Special)

After making a few appearances in the pages of Alterna’s anthology series It Came Out on a Wednesday, Ski Suharski’s Legends of Log received its very own “One-Dollar One-Shot” book in January. It’s a great price for a quick read featuring a unique character, but what exactly do you get for your hard-earned buck?

The Log character has appeared in the pages of Alterna’s It Came Out on a Wednesday and in Giant Comics’ Legends of Log, all of which are anthologies which featured short stories starring a hero who truly is best described as a giant, ax-wielding log who defends the forest from both mythical and man-made threats.

This new Legends of Log features black and white art and, for better or worse, sticks to the short story format with four brief adventures in a 20-page anthology. That of course makes Legends of Log a pretty good option if you have just a few minutes to kill and are looking for a quick, low-investment read.

All four of the stories are written by Ski Suharski and illustrated by Bob Berry, Trey Baldwin, and Ian Miller. Certainly the artwork varies by illustrator, but I personally consider Berry’s version of Log to be the definitive one, but all three artists offer respectably solid work. The stories themselves range from introducing new characters, Log’s brushes with danger, and even one quick 2-pager that almost reads  like a quick gag. They are all generally fun to read, though the Land of Giants! story was resolved far too conveniently, with Log being saved inexplicably by a fortunate “act of God.”

Perhaps the biggest problem with this stand-alone Legends of Log book is that it is in an anthology featuring a character whom readers know very little about. Every story published by Alterna, whether here or in It Came Out on a Wednesday, does little to explain much about who the character of Log is, or how he fits into the world around him. Short story anthologies based around a specific character often have more life if they are able to tap into established lore, which is what I had hoped to see in this standalone book. It’s high time that we see Log embark upon a more fleshed out, high-stakes adventure that develops him as a character and gives readers a richer understanding of his world.

At just a dollar, it’s very hard not to recommend Legends of Log, especially for fans of fantasy comics. If you’re a reader of Alterna’s It Came Out on a Wednesday anthology series, two of the four stories in this Legends of Log one-shot were already printed in those pages (Attack of the Serpent Creature in issue 4, and Log and the Savage Girl in issue 5). That means your value proposition is cut roughly in half from the get-go.

If you do become a Log fan, there are other ways to get more Log in your life. The easiest way would be to go to the Alterna Comics website and pick up the back issues of It Came Out on a Wednesday as they are available for two bucks a pop (Log is featured in issues 4-7).

Once upon a time, the Legends of Log creators sold an ashcan-sized anthology titled Legends of Log: The Ax Wielding Wooden Giant directly through the Giant Comics website. None of the short stories in The Ax Wielding Giant are featured in any of the Alterna books, so it’s 50 plus pages of Log stories in all his black-and-white glory. While this collection is currently not available for purchase, it’s out there for those who are dedicated to finding it. Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll do a full review of it too, but for now, you can check out our “unboxing” video of The Ax Wielding Giant below.

You can pick up the Legends of Log one-dollar one-shot and issues of It Came Out on a Wednesday via the Alterna Comics web store here. If you act quickly, you can also pick up a limited edition Legends of Log t-shirt, which is available here until 5 May. Proceeds from the shirt sales will help fund additional Legends of Log stories, so be sure to check it out if you are a fan.

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