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‘Canto: If I Only Had a Heart’ – Trade Paperback Review

Heart is at the center of this story: the loss, the meaning, and the quest to find both.   It is a journey many of us are taking right now which makes it even more important to find something we can hold on to our stories.

Canto is about a small tinman whose people were conquered and turned into slaves. In this land called Arcana, legend has it that The Shrouded Man had removed the slaves’ hearts before they knew what they were for and replaced them with clocks. But Canto is different. He loves another, and she has given him his name – something that is strictly forbidden. When she is beaten by their captors, her clock is irreparably damaged, and Canto sets out to find The Shrouded Man and return with her heart. All does not go as planned on this perilous journey, and Canto must reach deep within himself to find not only courage, but the ability to deal with the truth.

Inspired by the The Wonderful World of Oz by Frank Baum, writer David Booher brings in some of the most popular elements of that world with a yellow brick road in the background (which I loved), the Emerald Tower (Emerald City), and Canto himself (the tinman). The twist here is that he’s not looking for a heart for himself, as he has plenty of it, but for the one he loves. Even The Shrouded Man is “the man behind the curtain” and not what he initially appears to be. What gives the story another layer is that Canto’s story is juxtaposed against a fable that his people tell of a prince who attempts to rescue a kidnapped princess in a high tower.  

One could say this is a love letter to Frank Baum and the world he created.

The art is terrific and often gives us smooth multiple actions within one panel. The coloring complements the art in both the light and dark moments. There are also new characters introduced midway through that I’d love to know more about. I do have to say that the digital edition does not do the comic justice, as you cannot appreciate the splash pages or some of the paneling. So, be sure to pick up the print version.

This is a wonderful story that is suitable for ages ten and above, as there are some scary parts for the very young.

Creative Team: David M. Booher (writer), Drew Zucker (artist), Vittorio Astone (colorist), Deron Bennett (letterer)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Click here to purchase.

Madeleine Holly-Rosing, Fanbase Press Contributor



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