An evil skull face villain attempting to take over the universe may sound like a familiar tale from Saturday morning cartoons of our youth, but Steve Gregson and Matt Simmons’ Bastard Galaxia takes some of the more ludicrous ideas from those cartoons and milks them for everything they’re worth in this hilarious webcomic, which is now collected into an epic trade.
Writer: Steve Gregson & Matt Simmons
Artist: Steve Gregson & Matt Simmons
Price: Read for Free at BastardGalaxia.com
From the opening chapter which sees him address his bone troopers, Bastard Galaxia has a frenetic pace that keeps firing joke after joke at you like some kind of high powered evil laughter ray. Even when giving his troopers the tour of his evil base, there are gags a plenty, from the ill conceived Bone Shaft to the repeated example of vehicles with his face on. Gregson and Simmons take those classic super villain concepts and play with them, poking fun at their absurdity or just coming up with something completely weird to make you laugh out loud (Galaxia’s penis shaped moon base for example), and this makes for a fantastic and frequently hilarious read.
This first volume definitely has a very webcomic flow to it, with every page having at least one joke on it, and the chapters feeling a little disjointed at first, but not in a bad way. It can feel a bit rambly in places, especially in the opening chapters, but once it finds its voice and the supporting cast are introduced it soars.
Although there is an over arching story about Galaxia locating his lost crew and recruiting them for his battle against his nemesis Brosef Manstar and his pursuit of Manstar’s skull shaped base, really it’s all about the gags. Whether it is the parodies of classic 80s super characters like Hando or Man Shark, or Galaxia’s relationship with his ‘normal’ brother Kev who is along for the ride, it consistently laugh out loud hilarious.
One really smart angle which is ripe for jokes is that Galaxia’s ultimate goal is not global domination, but action figure sales and that sees him kit out his team in outlandish costumes just for the sake of merchandising. Anyone who was fleeced as a child buying a glow in the dark version of their favourite action hero will recognise this!
The artwork revels in this world of outlandish characters and the simplicity of Galaxia’s design is only outdone by the wackiness if the supporting cast of crazy characters. While it starts off quite Saturday morning cartoon-like in style, it ends up with a hint of Dragonball Z to it by the time we get to the epic face off between Galaxia and Manstar. With the pages formatted for web first, rather than print, there are some which are a bit over simplified, with over sized lettering dominating the page, but that is a minor quibble about what is otherwise a fantastic looking series.
The extras in between chapters are a particular highlight, especially the product catalogue pages that look like they were taken straight from an old Masters of the Universe toy set, through to adverts for Manstar and Galaxia toys, this is clearly put together by a fan of those 80s cartoons!
Bastard Galaxia has that nostalgic 80s smarts of a book like Knock Off Wars, but mixed with the charm and wit of Chris Baldie’s Space Captain and the crude silly humour of Hamish Steele’s Pantheon. All of which makes for one of the funniest, strangest and most enjoyable books we’ve read for ages. With the webcomic continuing online and a new volume out later this year, consider us a signed up member one of Galaxia’s evil empire!