I guess we can just say with certainty that we have entered the age of the crowd-funded comic book boom. Kickstarter has really changed the way we look at creator owned books nowadays. The guage for whether the audience is there is built into the concept. If you trust the talent involved and are willing to invest in them, they will repay you with a title that you can then judge with the benefit of knowing what you were getting from the inception.
I think the process has helped the industry in many ways. I think that Kickstarter is going to be the thing that gives creators the opportunity to do everything they deserve to do in the medium. You hear horror stories of books being shot down by editors years ago and you wonder what life they might have had in today’s climate. I’m sure more than a few rejected scripts are finding their way to Kickstarter projects.
Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare’s Rocket Girl # 1 is definitely a shining example of how Kickstarter can work and work well. Amy and Brandon bring us a book that is unlike anything else on the stands at the moment, a considerable feat if you consider the amazing spread of new books we get each and every week. I have been pumping out review after review for new creator owned books and I have gone on record as saying we’re in the middle of an Image renaissance where in a few years time people will look back and stutter in amazement at how many wildly inventive titles the company released.
The story revolves around an officer in 2013’s New York Teen Police Department who goes back in time to investigate an organization who has allegedly been altering history to grow their influence in the market. The book is the sort of high-concept science fiction that is sorely lacking in today’s comic book market. What is simply amazing is how the scriptwork is vibrant and stylized in a way that matches Reeder’s dazzling art. While Montclare gives us dialog that does a great deal of worldbuilding and allows the characters to become realized to the reader in ways that are both subtle and organic, Amy Reeder does the same thing with the art; it is expressive and stylized in such a manner that it forces the book to stand out and grab the reader’s attention. Much like Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s Sex Criminals, which I applauded a few weeks back, Rocket Girl is a perfect blend of script and art that many other comics simply wish they could attain. The elements that make this book meld into something truly special and leaves us entertained and fulfilled in the way that a monthly comic should.
If you’re looking for a new debut issue to hop onto, I strongly suggest you toss this onto your pull list. I’ve already grabbed a few extra copies to hand out to some friends because I truly do think this is an amazing book that can truly be a cross-genre hit.
I try to support Jimmy Palmiotti when I can. The guy is a class act all around and I very rarely dislike his output. This particular endeavor was a Kickstarter funded project that I went into completely blind based off of the faith I have in Jimmy’s creative potential. The guy has a sharp mind and a narrative style that I can really get behind. This particular book feels like something unlike what you normally get with a standalone graphic novel in that while it tells a complete story it leaves you with more questions than you may be willing to tolerate.
It’s a brisk read, not at all what you would call dense but featuring a lot of Palmiotti’s trademarks. The dialogue is raw and rugged, the characters are all flawed human beings that don’t fit into any easily identifiable category, and the crux of the narrative is centered around something far outside the realm of normalcy. The twisted sci-fi element of the book comes out of nowhere and is played completely straight, with little effort made to construct it as a mystery that needs to be unraveled. Instead it seems like a setup for that mystery to be handled later after the business at hand is taken care of. This doesn’t have the finality of something like Palmiotti’s “Random Acts of Violence” for example. It seems like an extended first issue of a comic book series that will run for a few issues before reaching a point of closure. I don’t know if there is any plan for further installments with the character because, as I said earlier, I went in completely blind. It’s not a book that everyone will love. It’s a book that will challenge even folks who are big fans of Palmiotti’s regular work.
But, the price tag is extremely reasonable and it’s a nice enough change of pace from the norm that I feel comfortable recommending it. Just know that your expectations are probably going to be subverted in some way because the book simply isn’t conventional in most respects and for that I have to give it a thumbs up.