01/05/2012. Contributed by Aidan Fortune
pub: Sybertooth Inc. 146 page graphic novel softcover. Price: GBP 8.99 (UK) ISBN: 978-0-9739505-6-4.
check out website: www.sybertooth.ca and www.stevenappleby.com
I wanted to like this, I really did. Steven Appleby’s long-running comic strip chronicling the adventures of the hero-in-his-own-head, Captain J. Star and his much maligned crew, has everything a good sci-fi fan would ever want. Detailed art that’s easy on the eye? Check. Ludicrous yet clever humour? Check. Amusing parody of Captain Kirk and Dan Dare? Check. However this is one of the rare times that a collection format actually takes away from the product.
There’s only so much Captain Star I can read in one sitting. Despite the detail and dry wit that comes across through every panel, it’s tricky to read more than a few pages at a time.
First published in a variety of magazines during the 80s and 90s and inspiring a cartoon featuring Richard E. Grant as the voice of the eponymous space adventurer, this was big stuff at the time.
Somewhere in the darkest reaches of my memory I can recall reading some of the Captain’s exploits when they were new. Perhaps this is why I had such high hopes for this collection. But unfortunately, I felt let down and didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I probably should have.
No disrespect to Captain Star or Steven Appleby, I can imagine that this was a valuable addition to any publication that it was featured in but who would buy a magazine simply for the comic strip? Or perhaps I’m being too harsh?
The art is sharp with plenty going on and the characters are clever. Even someone as potentially one-dimensional as Star is shown to have hidden depths, which make him more than just a simple parody.
This is a nostalgia purchase for those who enjoyed the strip when first published but be warned, it’s not to be rushed or read as a continual story. My best advice for potential readers is to dip in and out. It’ll keep.
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