Deep Space Canine (Avery Hill Publishing)

Deep Space Canine is a bit like the small press equivalent of a mighty Marvel team-up, as Hannah Chapman’s Comic Book Slumber Party crew join forces with the awesome Avery Hill to bring us this fantastic anthology starring CBSP’s galaxy trotting, hydro-herb smoking heroine Captain Greasy.

Publisher: Avery Hill Publishing
Writer: Beth Wood, Hannah K Chapman (Editor)
Artist: Lucy Haslam, Honey Parast, Jenn Woodall, Becca Tobin, Kat Chapman, Lize Meddings
Price: £10 from Avery Hill Publishing

The story in Deep Space Canine nominally sees CBSP’s regular heroine, Captain Greasy, on the search for her favourite knickers, but is much more than that as it as the events are told via a series of mini stories produced by a variety of artists in different styles. This allows Greasy to visit a party planet, have a herb induced psychedelic dream, flashback to her younger days and finally encounter a dark version of herself from a parallel universe without it ever feeling as weird as it might sound!

The art styles include: Lucy Haslam’s chaotic multimedia work which brilliantly reflects the crazy party planet; Honey Parast’s highly textured, almost 3D style that really brings the trip out sequence to life;  Becca Tobin’s swooshy watercolour work which is all reds and oranges and does a brilliant job of making the alternate universe feel completely different to the rest; and finally our favourite, Jen Woodall, whose more polished manga infused style gives the flashback seen a real dose of slickness. All these element are held together by Beth Wood’s cartoony style interludes that bridge the various chapters and give the book an overall narrative and a sense of continuity amongst the chaos.

This mixed approach is a great way to create an anthology with plenty of creators without having to give up on the idea of an ongoing narrative or story. As such, Deep Space Canine hangs together really well, but also allows the freedom for the artists to go off on flights of fancy without it stifling things. In fact its that high energy style and goofy sense of humour that makes Deep Space Canine such a fun read.

If we had to sum Deep Space Canine up in lazy journo cliches it would be that it feels like a mix of Tank Girl and Lumberjanes, but in space, and told with a generous dose of underground comix sensibilities. But perhaps a better description is that it feels like a book put together by a bunch of friends having a great time. While the story and character may not be the most in depth, and it doesn’t have the overall polish of previous Avery Hill titles like Artificial Flowers or Endless Summer, if you want something that is made with passion and energy, and if you want to feel part of a cool gang of girls who love comics, then this is definitely one for you.