The Rainbow Orchid makes a splash

I have good news and bad news about the second volume of Garen Ewing's The Rainbow Orchid, which was released on Monday.

The bad news is that it is still available only from British sources; like the first volume, it hasn't been officially published or distributed in the U.S., although I believe you can purchase it as an import.

The good news is that you can read a fairly hefty chunk of both books online at Ewing's site. Set in the 1920s, The Rainbow Orchid is a graphic novel for Masterpiece Theater fans; it features a distinguished professor, his audacious assistant, a movie star, a crusading reporter, and of course the wicked rival, all in a race to find the mythic rainbow orchid and take top prize in a plant show (although the stakes are much higher, naturally). It's a familiar plot but done very well and drawn in a lovely ligne claire style reminiscent of (but quite different from) Tintin.

Ewing really uses the web to its fullest potential; in addition to the comic, his site has purchasing information, story details, even a blog with puzzle pages, all organized in a logical and easy to navigate fashion. It's worth checking out just to see how much information he can include in a single web page without turning it into visual mush. Plus the comic is a lot of fun to read.

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