This is a spoiler free review.
Tuki: Fight for Fire and Tuki: Fight for Family are two terrific graphic novels. Thank you NetGalley, Kathleen Glosan, and Jeff Smith for the advanced reader copies of both books. I thoroughly enjoyed reading them! The artwork and awesome stories compliment each other very well. I was hooked from the start of Book One.
The Tuki graphic novels are very different from other Jeff Smith comics series such as Bone. The Tuki books are much more serious and have moments of violence but Tuki has so much heart and some beautiful poignant scenes. Reading the Tuki graphic novels felt like I was reading a story that would make a great movie or cartoon series. Some of the scenes felt like perfect storyboards or silent segments with very little to no dialogue which I really enjoy. The art told the story and the readers could imagine their own sounds for the scene. It’s like watching a silent film.
Tuki is the hero of these journey quest stories. His tale begins at the dawn of humanity. Where food and water are both scarce. He’s a cross between Tarzan and an unlikely hero type or a ronin who roams the jungle and plains in search of the mother herd of all buffalo.
During his journey he meets various species of humans. During this prehistoric time there are several human species who try to coexist with one another. In the Tuki graphic novels there are at least four species of humans and Tuki interacts with each of them during his journey. Tuki is a part of the species of humans who use fire and walk on two feet, but another species is the Habiline. They hate fire and attack and kill anyone who uses fire or cooks their food. The Habiline think it is an abomination of life to cook your food. Tuki meets an older Habiline, the Old One, a Seer who tries to warn Tuki how much the Habiline hate his kind.
The Old One and Tuki also meet other human species during this fantasy prehistoric story. They meet three children who bond with all of them. The children are the glue that holds them all together. Both Tuki and the old Habiline care for the kids in their own way. The children help Tuki and the other species to put aside their differences as they battle animal Gods, other human species, and long tooths.
The Tuki graphic novels remind me so much of Tarzan films and the Disney cartoon especially when Tuki goes sliding across tree branches and swings on vines as he ventures through the jungle. I also see similarities to Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal. Two stories about humans during the dawn of man as they each battle prehistoric monsters.
I highly recommend reading both Tuki: Fight for Fire and Tuki: Fight for Family. These are two very entertaining graphic novels that feature great stories and amazing artwork. Make sure you read to the end of each book. There is so much great information and bonus material on what Tuki is based on, storyboards with artist edition notes, Jeff Smith stories, and more.
Stay awesome keep reading!
Tuki: Fight for Fire and Tuki: Fight for Family
Written and Illustrated by Jeff Smith