For some pulpy fun, try Studio 407‘s “Fictionauts” graphic novel, out this week. (I’m sorry I didn’t have this up Wednesday for comic book day, but I didn’t get my review copy in time.)
It’s a silly adventure, filled with pop culture and literary references. Ultimately, I did find it a bit disappointing, but reading through it certainly had its moments.
The story reads and looks like a ’50s sci-fi movie.
Dalan Valley is the current leader of the Fictionauts, a team of adventurers who protect fiction from going wrong. As the lines between books, TV, movies, radio, etc. blur, problems crop up in stories. In the opening sequence, for instance, Ahab almost kills the whale.
Others on his team include former actress Zool Stone, whose main purpose seems to be to look pretty, gasp and try to get an engagement ring from Dalan; Professor Emerio Standford, who figures out where they’re needed next; and Jack, a character rescued from oblivion in a Dickens short story.
The villains of the piece are Professor Calculus Poisson (how do they come up with these great names?) and the mysterious Agent X. Rod Serling (“Twilight Zone”) and a tribe of Sea Monkeys have cameos, and it’s fun to scour the backgrounds for laughs (Daleks! Sleestaks! Godzilla!).
Mauro Mantella tells a brisk story, and Leandro Rizzo’s art is serviceable. It could stand to be a bit longer to better flesh out the world these folks live in, but most of what you need to know to enjoy it is there. It’s a fantastic premise, ripe for a cartoon series, and it would have been nice to have more meat on its bones.
Where I was also a bit disappointed was that it felt like it should be a great all-ages book, but some of the art and references put it in an older bracket and didn’t fit. The ultimate resolution was also a bit “hunh?” but the journey was still fun.
If you can get a discount off the $12.99 cover price, it’s worth a peek. I hope to see a more polished sequel in the future.