Launching a series about a teenage girl, her cat and her grandmother seems, on the surface, an unusual move for 2000AD. But when the girl is an intergalactic bounty hunter piloting the starship Full Tilt Boogie, things start to fall into place. Does this series from Alex de Campi and Eduardo Ocana hit the jackpot or is it a bit of a lemon?
Full Tilt Boogie tells the story of Tee, a teenage bounty hunter whose decision to rescue the spoilt Prince Ifan from debtor’s prison accidentally starts an intergalactic war. The first part of the story printed in this collected edition initially appeared in 2000AD Regened, the version of the prog aimed at younger readers. It’s to De Campi and Ocana’s credit that the strip was a stand-out of the first Regened issue but has developed into an ongoing series in the regular weekly comic. The lead character Tee is young and hot-headed and her gleeful sense of adventure might well appeal to younger readers but De Campi isn’t the sort of writer to talk down to her audience. Her writing feels fresh and contemporary but the sci-fi tropes that she plays with here also fit in neatly into the Galaxy’s Greatest.
Eduardo Ocana’s art is a breath of fresh air, beautifully enhanced by his delicate colour palate. Ocana’s art makes the strip feel much more European than the average 2000AD strip. This isn’t really a surprise as Ocana and De Campi first collaborated on a strip for Humanoids. Visually Full Tilt Boogie brings to mind books like Incal and Valerian and artists like Moebius which is no bad thing. Ocana’s art is not derivative though: there are many beautiful pages here that really need to be seen by a wider audience.
De Campi has said that the strip is heavily influenced by anime, in particular Gatchaman and Space Battleship Yamoto. There is another series that it bears more than a passing resemblance to which also features two generations travelling through the stars together, an intelligent turquoise space cat, an arrogant, spoilt prince and two opposing galactic armies. Full Tilt Boogie is not Saga but then its tone and target audience is very different. What it is is an exciting space opera full of strong female leads with a refreshingly positive spin on the power of family. Unlike Batman, Superman or Spider-Man, Tee isn’t an orphan. She’s not screwed up by family trauma, instead her family make her stronger.
De Campi and Ocana’s big adventure is a lot of fun with each chapter revealing more about an original and intriguing new galaxy, albeit one that’s populated by a familiar coterie of bounty hunters, aliens, starships and super weapons. If the ‘younger readers’ tag has put you off in the past, then perhaps it’s time to take another look at Full Tilt Boogie.