September 21st, 2010


Pizzicato of the Mouse Guard. (82)

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke.

Toughest customer
in Mos Eisley's cantina?
That little space girl.

I'm always happy to stumble across something & end up adoring it. Matt actually thrust this into my hands, saying "this looks up your alley." & hey, lo & behold it was. Ben Hatke, who you may note has website banner featuring d20s, came to fame through the Flight anthologies, but this is his first larger work. You've got plenty of aliens, giant mice, robots, precocious kids, the works. You want it, you got it. Me, I think I'm most won over by his clankers, his mechaorganic monstrosities, like the "mechanized predators" of the rusted wastes & especially the diving suit helmed & tentacled "Screed." I'd say the style reminds me of a Dresden Codak aimed at kids, or a mix of Rice Boy & Minus. Really it is the sort of terrain Jeff Smith & Little Nemo have chartered out, the junction of comic illustration & cartooning. His bio says the Italian Masters are at the root of his style, but that is a bit out of my artistic depths, past the limits of my know-how. Regardless of that; I found the story engaging & fun, & thought that Hatke's use of illustration to tell the story-- the kernel at the hard of the medium-- was exceptional. Really, it could have been done without any dialogue & you'd still be able to follow the story-- which isn't to say the dialogue isn't wonderful, especially Strong-Strong. The story starts by saying "Book One: Far From Home," which I take as a good sign, since I'd certainly like to see more where this came from.