As both a comic reader and a comic writer I'm a big fan of trade paperbacks and original graphic novels - reading graphic narrative in long form. I know it's perhaps not the usual opinion of a comic fan but I got over monthly floppies long ago. Sure, there's a certain buzz, and something a little nostalgic about going to the comic shop each week and picking up your books, reading them, and then waiting for the next installment, but as a means to experience story serialisation just doesn't cut it for me [clever pun about cutting and serialisation not intended]. What on earth has this got to do with Spacemen you ask? [pun about earth and Spacemen intended but certainly not as clever] Well, the answer is that I've recently been trying to get back into reading single issue comics for a few titles (like DC's New 52 as I discussed in my last post) but my apparent bias towards longer form books, perhaps it's impatience, has meant that not many books hold my attention for long. However, Spaceman certainly has held my attention and I must admit it is good to feel the excitement for a monthly release again.
Spaceman is a creator owned title released under DC's Vertigo imprint written by Brian Azzarello with Edwardo Risso on art duties, the team behind the excellent 100 Bullets which the pair have been running with for 10 years. Spacemen is the story of Orson, a man resembling a Neanderthal, genetically engineered by NASA to be capable of withstanding long term space flight. Unfortunately with the Earth going down the toilet and NASA shut down Orson is stuck on Earth. Things get really interesting for Orson when he finds himself embroiled in a kidnapping.
While the premise, the story and the characters are all interesting, it is the world that Azzarello has created that is the truly unique star of the book. Azzarello has created a future that is a frightening extrapolation of where we may be headed with our current saturation of the internet and media. This is most evident in Azzarello's terrific use of language, a language that has been decimated by internet and text speak to the point where characters don't laugh, they just say "lol lol lol."
If you're a comic fan looking for something different, or even if you're not a big comic reader, do yourself a favour and pick up the first issues of Spaceman (at the time of writing 3 of a 9 issue series have been released). They are readily available in comic shops or digitally on iPad, iPhone and Android through the excellent comixology app. Admittedly it takes a while to get into the rhythm of reading Azzarello's unique dialogue but once you get into the swing of it this really is a book that shows the power of graphic narrative both as storytelling medium and as a medium for thematic expression.
It's good stuff...good enough that I'm eagerly awaiting next month's issue.