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Destroy All Comics - GGR & Book Report on S.F.S.F.S.F.S.F. (Space Fleet Science Foundation Special Forces Supplementary File #1)

So first off, check out the latest page of Golden Gate Riot and oh yeah, please buy a copy in the store and tell your friends about it. I have only sold 10 copies of GGR so my self-esteem is kinda low, dudes.

In other news, I ordered copies of both S.F. #1 and S.F. Supplementary File #1 by Ryan Cecil Smith recently and was really jazzed from the moment I got the package. Getting an envelope marked SECRET FILE in the mail gave me a secret nerdy thrill.

I want to talk about just S.F. Supplementary File #1 for today, so I'll save S.F. #1 for another post. Ryan Cecil Smith is a dude I discovered when someone I follow on Twitter mentioned him. I checked out the link to his site and read S.F. Supplementary File #1 online. Go read it for free and if you like it, buy it! (Listen to me trying to sell stuff like some fucking capitalist.)

So S.F. is really S.F.S.F.S.F., or the Space Fleet Science Foundation Special Forces. I love how fucking excessive the name is. Excessive naming is one of the things that got me into Japanese cartoons and comics in the first place. My first love is still The Super Dimension Fortress Macross and man, that is one excessive name. S.F. is clearly influenced by Japanese sci-fi, most obviously Leiji Matsumoto stuff like Space Battleship Yamato, Captain Harlock, and Galaxy Express 999. Still, it would be a mistake to ignore the obvious western influences as well.

S.F. Supplementary File #1 is the story of space mountain man Gorum, the son of Royal Scientists (TM). They live on the Planet of Dunes, which is a super clear reference to Frank Herbert's Dune with its vast deserts and monster worms. Anyhow, their planet is low on resources so the rulers sent child Gorum and his family out into space to find some more. They wound up on a cool jungle planet that was so great they just abandoned their quest and moved right on it. Gorum grows up in this wild, untamed world until one day a follow-up exploration (or maybe exploitation) unit from the Planet of Dunes arrives. Long story short, Gorum's family is brutally murdered by the super evil Snakebait, Gorum escapes in a spaceship, swears bloody revenge, and eventually gives up his vendetta to join S.F.

The character of Gorum owes a lot to Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars, who in turn is kind of an outer space version of Burroughs' Tarzan character. John Carter provided the template for many space heroes to follow, everything from Flash Gordon to Luke Skywalker.

I don't want to sell S.F. short by implying that it is a mere remix of older sci-fi elements. S.F. also brings to the table a breezy, sunny attitude and really adorable art from the American indie comic 'zine scene. The art, though deliberately flat, has a lot of squiggly detail that I love. I also really like the pacing. Unlike a lot of drawn out modern American comics or even many of the Japanese comics that influenced S.F., this comic has an impressive storytelling economy. S.F. tells a lot of story in only eleven pages. That is definitely something I need to work on in my own comics. I also like the way it looks like this is setting up a sort of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen for science fiction heroes. I'm hoping for a Lensman analogue and a Doctor Who analogue.

This nothing really I can call out as directly sexist in this comic, either, which is a refreshing change, but I would really love it if there were female heroes as well. Give me Lady Ada in space or something!

Still, S.F. Supplementary File #1 is an enjoyable space adventure that stands well on its own and serves as a good introduction to the S.F. world. Just read it already!

Posted 31 October, 2012 - 02:19 by Destroy All Pod...
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