Book Of The Month – July 2011
Strange Science Fantasy
Written & Illustrated by Scott Morse
In my opening argument, I will prove to you that Scott Morse isn’t just a comic book creator, but a diabolical genius. The whole ‘I’m just a guy who draws pretty pictures’ excuse is nothing more than a cheap disguise, hiding the real brilliance of this man, this legend, this modern day Wizard of Oz. In this case you will want to pay attention to that man behind the curtain, because chances are that he’ll fill your mind with long lost stories of ancient times featuring gods, soldiers, and much more.
I remember reading the first issue of Strange Science Fantasy last year, and really liking the blend of both story and art. It was something unique, bold, and there was nothing else like it. Lo behold with the arrival of the second issue, and I had a gigantic hook simultaneously in my brain and heart, with Morse reeling me in one page at a time. To this day I still bear that hook, and it does make quite the interesting topic of discussion at cocktail parties. The whole concept of mash-ups is to take two or more already existing things, and combine them together to create something new. Music, comics, movies, you can see it thriving in this day and age, it still being a relatively new idea. I love music mash-ups, and have nothing but tremendous amounts of respect to the DJs who are able to create such wonderful new rhythms and beats. The same thing applies to comic book creators who are pushing the boundaries of different genres, creating something new and beautiful as the outcome.
With Strange Science Fantasy, you get exactly that; several different one-shots by Morse, each very unique with a blend of science and fantasy, action and science, etc. You can’t predict the outcome for any of the stories, you can only enjoy the ride from cover to cover. Remember those mash-up action scenes in the movie Sucker Punch? Think that, only good. Morse is throwing ideas at you that you wouldn’t have thought-up in a million years, and yet it feels like it could fit-in comfortably with any era in comic books. For all I know, Scott Morse is the incarnation of Jack Kirby, and he has unfinished story ideas. Now to compare someone to The King of Comics is quite bold, but Morse definitely shows respect to the stories and their creators of old, and you can see loud and clear in his work. His whole style of art is a fantastic pulp look, with beautiful coloring also done by him. Some of these characters he introduces us to are complex, simple, and original all rolled into one, that at times I find myself flabbergasted trying to figure out what his inspirations might have been. Drugs? Grant Morrison? Does he own a giant pop culture blender, and mixed-in a healthy dose of everything? The answer may hurt our mortal brains if we were ever to discover his methods of madness.
Each of these one-shots could easily be a mini-series of some sort, maybe spanning 5-6 issues per character. It’s the kind of collection you could pitch to a publisher, seeing what hits and what misses. I for one would love to see the continued adventures of the Shogunaut & Knucklehead, or see what’s next for the Projectionist. And what’s our old pal G.I. Gantic up to now that his mission is complete? I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up, but it does say ‘Volume 1’ on this trade, perhaps suggesting that more of these magnificent stories are on their way? One can only hope.
In closing, this is a ‘Must Own’ graphic novel for your bookshelf. It has something for everyone, and it’s not like any other comic that I can think of. This is the perfect trade for the one comic geek who has everything, or the one who’s just starting to get into comics. You’ll laugh, you’ll gasp, you’ll study this Grade-A eye candy for years to come. And did I mention as an added bonus you’ll get six pin-ups by artist extraordinaire Paul Pope? Yeah, it’s kind of awesome like that.
Go pick-up Strange Science Fantasy today, and thank me tomorrow.