Cameron Kerkau’s Gilgamesh: Eternal #1 Comic Review

Cameron Kerkau and Kostas Pantoulas’ Gilgamesh: Eternal #1 is a beautiful, action-packed look at ancient Sumerian Mythology.


GilgameshEternal1_Digital-1

Ancient myths and legends have inspired some truly incredible comics. Rachel Smythe’s critically acclaimed Lore Olympus puts old Greek Legends to great use, while Peach Momoko’s Demon Days combine old Japanese folklore with the Marvel Universe to tell utterly unique superhero stories. Author Cameron Kerkau and artist Kostas Pantoulas endeavor to follow in this great tradition with their new, self-published comic Gilgamesh: Eternal #1, a fun retelling of the Epic of Gilgamesh.


Gilgamesh: Eternal #1 begins when the titular hero and his lover Enkidu fighting a ferocious monster. just outside the city of Uruk. With the help of some benevolent gods, they are able to vanquish the beast and return home to a hero’s welcome. But unfortunately, a jealous goddess has more monsters in store for the dynamic duo. As Gilgamesh struggles to balance his life as an adventurer with his duties as a king, he finds himself in the middle of a godly dispute.

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The king in his throne

Kerkau does an excellent job of adapting the Epic of Gilgamesh into a fun comic. Gilgamesh: Eternal #1 seems to be a fairly faithful adaptation of the classic story, but Kerkau’s knack for pacing and dialogue helps it feel fresh and contemporary. By focusing on Gilgamesh’s relationship with Enkidu and Lady Inanna’s insecurities, Kerkau humanizes the two god-like characters without scaling down the epic scope of their adventures. This empathetic approach makes the comic feel approachable. There’s no denying that Gilgamesh is a legendary figure, but in Kerkau’s hands, it is possible to see him as a human being. Rather than detracting from the strength of the character, this emotional view of him adds layers to him.


As good as Kerkau’s writing is, Pantoulas’ artwork steals the show in Gilgamesh: Eternal #one. He adorns many of his panels with pieces of ornate frames while leaving other panels completely open. These stylish flourishes add to the overall composition of each page while rooting every element of the comic in the classical era. But when it’s time for the hero to battle ferocious monsters, Pantoulas knows to let the action speak for itself. His character designs by him capture the essence of these iconic characters and creatures while being unlike any other representation. Pantoulas’ watercolors are particularly striking. His colors from him bring a sense of playfulness and excitement to every scene.


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Gilgamesh fights a beast

Gilgamesh: Eternal #1 is a charming and intriguing read from cover to cover. The debut issue sets the stage for plenty of drama and excitement in subsequent installations. Fans of the source material will be reassured by the faithful retelling of the Epic of Gilgamesh, and everyone is sure to be entertained by the fantastical action. Kerkau has crafted a carefully paced, character-driven narrative and Pantoulas makes every page gorgeous. This first issue is a must-read for fans of mythology and good comics.


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