Disney Bad Guy, Magician, Immortal, Amoral, Evil, Scary Looking, and Devil-Deal-Maker . . . Rasputin hada bad reputation. How much of this is true? Well, I’m something of a fan of the big R, so I can speak (a little) to the myth surrounding this guy . . . and it’s mostly myth. He probably had some food allergies, he definitely had some paranoia, so he likely didn’t eat the poison. The rest (stabbing, drowning, beating, etc.) . . . as far as I know (and I am too lazy to research right now) is just conjecture, myth, and guess work. So, why the century-long (almost) obsession with the guy? He was self-made (came from peasant stock), he had a scary beard, and he survived an assassination attempt or two. Plus, he was super weird and somewhat powerful . . . and had a reputation for being a mystic. (Court Magician, anyone?)
So, what is this comic? It’s what we like to read when it comes to aguy like Rasputin. Much like that time I went on a date with that super hot girl, the retelling of events might be far more interesting than the facts. This story starts out on the evening of Rasputin’s death, but most of the story is a flashback to childhood. Unlike actual history, Rasputin the comic book character shows some pretty hardcore stuff . . . including the manifestation of Rasputin’s magical powers.
So, what is this comic doing? It’s taking one of the murkiest, shawow(iest), and scariest characters from the public consciousness and telling his story. And, much like the True Story of the Three Little Pigs (Jon Sczieska – an awesome book, if you haven’t read it), our nasty magician of manipulation with the scary facial hair is a pretty sympathetic character.
So . . . it’s fiction. Remember that. Once you’ve swallowed that little nugget of a fact, the story is compelling. The art is incredible. (Thank you, Riley Rossmo.) The creator, Alex Grecian (well-known and acclaimed writer) writes a little to us about his fascination with Rasputin at the end of the comic, and it gives even more credibility to why this comic is good. Alex has been interested in Rasputin his whole life. I guess we all have, we just wanted the right Rasputin story to read.
This could be the right one. Give it a shot.