We were here once before.

As The Water Phoenix King moves toward its unavoidable climax I find myself thinking of all the material that influenced its creation. Since some of you might be looking for more WPK-like material, I’ll use this space to describe some of the books, comics, and games that inspired this comic.

There’s probably no better place to start than Elric of MelnibonĂ©, Michael Moorcock’s most popular and enduring character. WPK is pretty much The Adventures of Girl Elric, so if you want more chaos gods, evil swords, and scheming demons, the Elric stories offer one-stop shopping. Their only flaw in my mind is that I have no idea where anyone should begin, as everything I’ve read from Michael Moorcock I’ve read in the wrong order (except the cosmologically and conceptually related Hawkmoon novels, which might be my favorites, partially because in them Moorcock pretty much invents “steampunk” without slowing down to notice).

Nonetheless, I don’t think there’s any real need to read Elric “right.” Moorcock’s tales have a sprawling mythological grandeur that lack anything of my Apollonian fussiness and D&D-ish tendency to overcategorize. You can either work out a proper reading list for your journey across Elric’s multiverse or–perhaps better–you can grab the first thing by Michael Moorcock you see at a used book store and read it.