Space Captain is one of those rare things in indie comics – a title that seems to appear perfectly realized from the very beginning and gets better and better with every issue. There’s no muddled debut full of extraneous exposition or awkward character development as the writer and artist attempts to find their voice. Instead, like its hero, it appears from the ice fully rounded, ready for action and sporting an excellent moustache!
Publisher: Never Ever Press
Writer: Michael Park and Chris Baldie
Artist: Chris Baldie
Price: £4.00 per issue from Never Ever Press
Our rating: [star rating=”5″]
Space Captain sees our our moustachioed hero rescued from an escape pod buried in the ice of a mysterious planet by a friendly alien prospector. After thawing out he discovers that he is the last human alive and that the human race has been extinct for 1,000 years and so sets off to find out what has happened to the Earth. All of which feels quite Douglas Adams-esque as it casts humans as a galactic after thought, rather than the centre of the universe.
This fish out of water/ Rip Van Winkle plot has been used on everything from Aliens to Captain America it works perfectly for Space Captain, as it allows writers Park and Baldie to mix high octane pulp adventure ( as Cap is pursued by evil space lizards who are after his blood) with a heart-breaking back story. As we learn about the Captain’s pregnant wife who he left behind and the uncertainty of how he got there, via a series of dreams and flashbacks, it really adds a depth to the story without distracting from the main arc and fleshes out what could otherwise have been a very ordinary story.
While Space Captain might appear to be a classic space adventure, it mixes in several other pulp favourites to create a really great mixing pot of a series. After the initial space based origin we get a western story in issue 2 and a jungle based tale in issue 3 as the Captain goes from planet to planet. As well as mixing up the stories which we are told, it also allows artist Chris Baldie the chance to show off his art chops in a variety of different genres.
Chris’ artwork has a very European feel to its cartoony style, reminding us of Albert Montey’s The Universe with its quirky technology and it’s smart, funny alien character designs. There’s also hints of Chris Sheridan’s excellent Motorcycle Samurai in some of the the western pages (especially the warm colour schemes) as well a bit of classic Herge in there as well – but that may just be the Captain Haddock like ‘tache!
Space Captain is one of those exceptional indie books that are so good you forget that they aren’t produced by a major publisher. With a compelling story that mixes action/adventure, with genuine pathos and heart, and wrapped up in a perfectly designed package, Space Captain is a truly out of this world comic book!