Writing high concept sci-fi, with its vast potential, can be a challenge to pin down into a cohesive narrative. One false move with jargon or a rant, and you can lose your casual reader, sucked into a void never to be seen again. With “Gonzo Cosmic,” a new comic book series, Garry Mac has created something with plenty of twists and turns but with a solid narrative and cast of characters that will keep you grounded and, more to the point, hooked.
Written and drawn by Mac, this comic sets its sights on adding to the tradition of post-scarcity sci-fi. You know, this is a story set in a time when our most basic needs are met and, with all that leisure, we usually mess it all up and turn on each other. I can see Mac’s need to pack in as much as possible. His artwork, with that neat crunchy line, recalls Frank Quitely and sets you in the mood for something teeming with the fanciful and exotic. We begin, after all, with a crew wandering “the discontinuity” where time is “unbound.” As a first issue, the reader will surely find this a very satisfying introduction.
Our main character and crew leader is Andel Novak. With all the exotica before us, we might too readily accept any and all weirdness: Andel muttering something about deja vu just before he walks through a vagina portal and finds another version of himself in the middle of presenting his invention, the first functional “faster-than-light” cruiser. We see him before a group as you’d expect to find Elon Musk presenting his latest electric car.
Then something, quite abrupt, goes wrong. Andel is taken at gun point by our villain, Ira Tappan. He already knows Andel and sort of functions as a Lex Luthor type. Or maybe it’s his shaved head that puts him squarely in that category for me. Anyway, “The Formidable” cruiser is forced to launch way ahead of schedule. But, then again, “schedule” is a relative term here. What may seem abrupt, full of danger, could all be programmed. Once the crew meet up with their hosts at Oscillatum, we start to see a pattern emerge.
This first chapter, “Now, Today, Tomorrow and Always” will provide you with more entertainment than any number of comics out there. This is indeed impressive. Colors by Jim Devlin. Letters by Colin Bell. Cover by Kev Harper. Variant Cover by Iain Laurie. Printing by UKomics.com.
It is always a good idea to have some sort of afterword at the end of a new comic, especially one with involved material. Mac is generous in sharing with us his observations and goals for this comic. He intends to contribute to the world-changing tradition of superhero comics by grounding it with a more plausible sensibility.
Given that Andel Novak is our Elon Musk with the world, even the universe, on a string, he will feature prominently in questions of what can or should be changed. With such a level of brainy quirk to this comic, I would not only compare Garry Mac’s artwork to Frank Quitely but consider the writing to be on a good track for comparison with Grant Morrison.
“Gonzo Cosmic #1” is available through Unthank Comics. Check them out here.