Posted October 6, 2017 by Stephen Hardman in Columns

World of Webcomics: The Bean by Travis Henson

The Stats

Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Archive: 560 pages as of 5 February 2014
You’ll love it if you enjoy: ElfQuest, Blindsprings, Twilight Monk, Fable

In the beginning…

“Bean” is a young boy who has been sold to a family of Inn keeping ogres. His lot in life is to wash dishes, serve patrons, and occasionally embark on thieving exploits at the stern urging of his “father.” For Bean, the nuances of life have already been determined by a scoundrel of a father, and his now gruff “family.” Then, during quest to replenish the Inn’s mushroom supply, Bean encounters a hooded figure. As the story escalates, Bean is taken captive by the hooded troll and thrust into quest searching for a powerful and mysterious weapon.

At the heart of “Bean”…

The themes and arc of “Bean” aren’t anything too new. Where the story really finds its voice and root is in its execution. The artwork is well composed and executed with a great sense of depth in every drawing. Characters don’t just fill the story, the propel it in interesting ways that gives the reader the occasional glimpse of a larger, thoughtful arc. “Bean” is obviously loved by its creator, and that care makes for a very rich reading experience. While Bean is a coming of age story, it is also does a great job of being familiar and relatable (which is very important for a fantasy story, but is often found lacking in similar tales).

Why you’ll love it…

“Bean” does a lot of things very well. Characters have truly unique and compelling voices. The world is familiar, but still rich in tiny bits of thoughtfulness and style. Travis Henson is a very skilled illustrator, but what I find most striking is his ability to write. While many artists attempt to straddle both chores, Travis does so extremely well. Stories are filled with bits of symbolism, foreshadowing and world-building.

Born in the North West of England and now living in North Somerset his interest in comics started at an early age by reading the cartoons in weekend newspapers – a particular favourite being Calvin & Hobbes. His interest grew when he discovered the only comic shop in his home-town, which led him to Vertigo, the early incarnation of Image, as well as Batman, a character which remains a favourite to this day. He also loves crime and noir fiction, film and TV of all kinds, and music of all types. Writing and blogging takes up much of his spare time and he hopes to one day publish his long-gestating crime novel.