Spend Your Day with 700 KnightsMarch 29, 2015
Why should 300 have all the glory? The Great Siege of 1565 saw 700 knights face off against the forces of the Ottoman Empire, some 40,000 men, as they laid siege on Malta. Now, history is coming to life in the landscape comic, 700 Knights by writer John Rap (creator and writer of Electromagnate), artist Lou Manna (penciller for Spider-Man, Icicle, Salem St. James and T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents) and colorist Santosh P. Pillewar (Batu Gaiden and Kaal).
So what exactly is a ‘landscape comic’?
Think of a two-page splash in a comic that will depict an epic battle between two sides, good and evil, or the end result of a battle with a fallen companion. These take up two pages in a comic and are often only featured once or twice in a standard trade comic that usually ranges between 20 and 24 pages long.
For 700 Knights, the creative team is looking to make the entire comic landscape, allowing them to produce more incredible battle pieces and establish a flow of images and wording that isn’t restricted to cells on a page. A comic like this is a lot of work and attention to detail on everyone’s part: a writer gets to tell a more in depth story, the artist isn’t restricted with how the story comes to life and the colorist has a whole field of opportunity to work with.
This alone is what makes 700 Knights an interesting project. By choosing to do a landscape comic, Rap, Manna and Pillewar will be taking on a lot more work; their minimum goal is to see 48 pages of the comic, and that translates to roughly 96 traditional comic book pages. This puts it easily in graphic novel territory, which is a great way to enjoy the kind of story that Rap will be telling about the Knights.
700 Knights sets out to tell the epic story of the 1565 Siege of Malta in which 700 Knights of Saint John (also known as Hospitaller Knights) fought against blinding odds as the Ottoman Empire set their sights on the vulnerable Malta. Former slave of the Ottoman Empire, the leader of the Knights is Grandmaster Jean Parisot de Valette a man chosen to be Malta’s weapon against the impending invasion that could see the slaughter of thousands of innocent lives and the loss of land and country. On the opposing side we see Turgot Reis who has the determination to take Malta and then Europe for the Ottoman Empire. He, along with Sulieman the Magnificent have already conquered Jerusalem, Rhodes and Tripoli.
Not only will the 700 Knights tell the story of the fierce battle, but it will explore the stories of both Grandmaster Jean Parisot de Valette and Commander Turgot Reis so you’ll know more about the leading men as the story goes on. The comic will also cover many other real historical events as laid out on their Kickstarter page such as:
- Grandmaster imprisoned by his own
- Grandmaster formerly a slave of the opposition
- The defense and fall Fort St. Elmo
- The defense and fall Fort St. Michael
- A catapult full of decapitated heads
- Naval battles
- Siege machines
- Surprise ending (not in Wikipedia)
The trio are currently running a Kickstarter campaign where Rap has found success before with Electromagnate earlier this year which saw 117% funding towards his project. When someone donates $2 or more, they will have a postcard (see below) with information about Grandmaster Jean Parisot de Valette mailed to them anywhere in the world, as well as have the digital copy of 700 Knights available to them when the comic book is created. Following this Kickstarter, there has also been talk about following it up with another crowdfund project to bring the book to life in physical form, so that project will likely cover printing costs.
There’s no doubt about it; clearly the art is beautiful and the story is one that is well thought out and you won’t ruin it for yourself by reading up about the battle on Wikipedia. Go support 700 Knights today, you will not be disappointed.