May 3, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 798: Spacepig Hamadeus and the Geysers of Doom, 2015

http://spacepighamadeus.com/

Alright alright alright! It's time to get onto one of my absolute favourite bits of any comic convention: reading and talking about the amazing indie comics I've procured.

I was chatting this weekend to the creators of a "queer space opera" called Crash and Burn (the first collection of which will be a featured graphic novel in the next couple of weeks), and I asked if it was okay to do a review and send them a link to it. They said yes, though only so long as it was a nice review. This got me thinking, and I realized that I don't think I've ever reviewed an indie comic from a con poorly. There is something about such a comic that is genuine. The passion of its creator comes through so much more than one might find in the more mediated properties that come from professional comics and publishers. And you actually get to talk to the people involved in the production of these comics, and hear their passion in their voices. This really, really enhances the experience of reading their work.

I had the opportunity to talk to writer, colourist, and letterer of this first Spacepig Hamadeus (though not first published, I think) adventure Donovan Yaciuk this weekend. I was delighted to discover that one of his influences in creating the series were old pulp fictions and movie serials, and that part of the aesthetic of Spacepig was to take on some of the dialogue qualities of those early serialized stories. It really, really comes through. If you're a fan of something like Atomic Robo, you should check out this comic. We're dropped into a fully-fleshed science fiction environment that is at once novel and familiar. The characters, both design and personality, are realized quickly and expertly (I really love Micanaut shaman Dar-Kushh), and the environment is introduced through a number of familiar tropes (underground alien kingdoms, high-strung robotic companions) that let the reader settle into the story with a minimum of confusion over who's who, and what's what. This is the first in a series of four I acquired at the Calgary Expo, so I'll be reading them over the next week or so (interspersed with some of the other comics I picked up). The art chores, handled in this issue by Justin Shauf and Ryan Howe, nicely depict the two eras in which the action takes place. Mr. Schauf's more stylized look is a nice fit for the non-stop action section of Hamadeus's adventure, while Mr. Howe's slightly more realistic flashback art provides a solid historical foundation for the present time events. I'm excited to see where the story goes. And given how much I enjoyed today's comic, it's very likely we'll get to see more of Spacepig Hamadeus tomorrow.

In the meantime, have a look at the website, and if you're intrigued, grab yourself a copy. You won't be disappointed.

To be continued.

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