Staff Picks – Week of 03/07/2019

Sea of Stars #1
Jason Aaron , Dennis Hallum (w), Stephen Green (a), Rico Renzi (c)
Image Comics

Mattia says: Gil, a cargo transporter worker and his young son Kadyn are navigating with their important shipment to the next destination. Kadyn is bored, space can be god damn dull, just a long vast nothingness. Their cargo seems to be an old collection of antique fossil. Something huge from the long-range scanners has been detected. It’s moving fast towards them. What is it?!

I’ll leave you with that. Find it out! You’re in for a treat with the new series by Jason Aaron, synonymous of quality when it comes to writing comics; and Dennis Hallum, already at ease with space atmosphere from the good minis, Vader: Dark Visions; all supported by the excellent art by Stephen Green and the colours of Rico Renzi.

Monsters, weird creatures and a sprinkle of superpowers are waiting for you.

Game of Thrones: The Storyboards
William Simpson (a)
Harper Voyager

Karl says: This 300 plus page epic tome is a real joy to behold. Whether or not you have seen the “Greatest TV series ever made (TM)” or not, the work that goes in to visualising such an endeavour is truly impressive.

Comics and storyboard maestro Will Simpson performed this Herculean task on Game of Thrones, and collected here is over a decade of awesome work from him. Key scenes are focused upon and each episode is peppered with dialogue from the script. Intriguing touches include camera tracking guides and arrows indicating the direction of the action.

In a few weeks we are very lucky to have Will Simpson here at Orbital. As well as an Exhibition in the Gallery from the 19th of July, he will be signing during the afternoon of Saturday the 20th, followed by a talk and a storyboarding masterclass in the evening. Tickets will be limited, and are available here.

Space Bandits #1
Mark Millar (w), Matteo Scalera (a)
Image Comics

Chief says: Nostalgia’s a funny thing. When people look back, it’s either with a sense of cringing embarrassment at the state of themselves (especially when it comes to their clothes and hair) or with revelment in the pop artefacts of the time (Walkmans??). They never want to actually look at how good or bad a time really was.

I mention this because Mark Millar’s latest is a book that revels in the past. Taking the idea that there’s a cultural delay in space of around a decade, meaning the 80’s didn’t reach space until the 90’s. So we join the action aboard The Lionel Richie, a luxury space cruiser, full of the ageing 1%. These are of course robbed by the titular space bandits, led by Cody Blue. She’s a woman on the make, whose hired the toughest badasses in the galaxy, with plans to retire on twenty million each. Best laid plans and all that, Cody is betrayed and shot by her team.

The story jumps and we end up in the Molly Ringwald system (unfashionable, apparently) where we meet a couple, also on the grift. The female half of this couple is wanted and the bounty on her head keeps going up and up. So her beau makes a swift profit on turning her in then helping her escape. Only once they hit that one last job (always the problem child of the litter in these things) he doesn’t help her escape. She’s sentenced to very hard time on ‘The Crustacean’, an intergalactic giant lobster now serving as a prison planet.

It’s all a batshit mix of everything that’s gone before, not unlike the times we’re living in, but Millar makes it fun. The book has a refreshing energetic drive and pop-sensibility that makes it easy to identify with it’s leads, who are criminals and probably undeserving of your sympathy but are likely to get it anyway, which is definitely one of Millar’s strengths. Scalera’s art is supremely pleasing, balancing fantastical sci-pop elements without lingering on them and therefore making the whole thing alien and odd. Like Sharkey the Bounty Hunter, the key is the humanisation of the weird, which is why, I suspect, the 80’s were picked as the influencing time-period. Points for having one of the characters look like a cross between Michael Jackson and Gregory Hines in running Scared, too. I’ll be back for seconds.