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Timepeeper is the latest sci-fi offering from Big Head Press. The publisher also put out the previously-reviewed Roswell, Texas, also by noted sci-fi writer L. Neil Smith. But Timepeeper is different. While Roswell, Texas had all the trappings of pulp comic, the latest Timepeeper reads like a classic sci-fi story brought to life.

Bernie Oliver, Valerie Kazaryan and Arthur Skimmer are three futuristic high school students who have lost a “borrowed” time travel probe they took for a joy-ride seventy years prior. The webcomic opens with the trio confronting the problem of retrieving a timepeeper which has wounded up lodged in a dumpster behind the house of Valerie’s great-aunt.

There’s really not much more to the story, at least so far. This webcomic is just getting started, with about sixteen pages up so far. But for what little has been posted so far, the results have been executed fabulously.

The art by Sherard Jackson is perfectly suited for this kind of story. There is a richness to the black and white art, seen everywhere from the translucent texture to the teenagers’ otherwise modern clothes to the space age curves of the gravity-cheating hula-hoops used for transportation. Though the webcomic is pretty darn subtle at times (even to go so far as to name the school after Robert A. Heinlein), Sherard Jackson deserves special praise for magnificently illustrating a future we would have normally had to visualize in our minds, were this a prose story.

While Roswell, Texas had occasional trouble with exposition clouding the visual plot, Timepeeper so far doesn’t share the problem, as the well-grounded storyline has the advantage of showing the science fiction instead of explaining it in a large chronicle. Still, Timepeeper reads more like a sci-fi novella as opposed to an actual webcomic, with hooks from page to page in seemingly short supply. However, Timepeeper’s subtlety is also a blessing in disguised, as many times situations play out in ways both poignant and playful on the page.   

Timepeeper is a good webcomic for readers looking for some much-needed science fiction in their daily reading diet. With a simple premise, engaging characters and affectionate illustrations, Timepeeper has all the markings of a classic on the horizon.

 

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