Overview

Beyond the Kuiper Belt #1

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Beyond the Kuiper Belt #1

Credits

  • Words: John Escobales, David Kaminski, Michael Glenzel
  • Art: Keith Murphy, Matt Ryan
  • Inks: Alex Rivera
  • Story Title: "Killer Cortez", "Black Roses", "Unfinished Business"
  • Publisher: Free Lunch Comics
  • Price: $3.95
  • Release Date: May 26, 2009

Are you ready to take a journey to the outer reaches of space?  If so, strap in, this is going to be a wild, weird ride.

Gone into the mists of history and memory are the old Sci-Fi pulp magazines and fanzines… gone, except to the creators of Beyond the Kuiper Belt, that is.  The writers and artists here have crafted a comic that is a delightful hybrid.  It is both tribute and parody and it mashes together old Sci-Fi pulps and fanzines, and oddly enough there is a bit of a Heavy Metal vibe here as well.  As such, this isn’t your ordinary comic book.  In fact, it isn’t even your ordinary anthology.

The stage is set with a prose introduction from the magazine’s “creator” – a way-out wacky type with borderline mad scientist claims – and from there it spins into the first of the stories…  With “Killer Cortez” we have the tale of a military leader who tries to leave his world of violence behind and find a kind of peace only to discover that the military isn’t inclined to leave him alone… although they may wish they had.  “Black Roses” goes into the darkness of space with a ship of all-female pirates/slavers and shows that deciding to rescue and restore a mysterious android found floating in the depths of space isn’t always such a good idea.  Finally, there is “Unfinished Business” a prose story with a partial page illustration at the top.  Here two alien enemies sit down to discuss a truce but it’s hard to discuss peace when one side is not being honest with the other.

Among the stories “Killer Cortez” stands out as the strongest of the three.  Although it is a fairly standard sci-fi story and one with a plot readers will have seen before it is entertainingly told and the art is clean, easy to follow, and demonstrates some really nice shading work.  “Black Roses” on the other hand seems a bit rough.  The art is a little muddled in places leading to the action and/or events not being clear.  Additionally, the characters’ personalities are not very strongly defined and it is difficult to get a grasp on who these people are and what makes them tick.  The final story, “Unfinished Business,” is another sci-fi tale that, sadly, does not really bring anything new in.  It is entertaining enough but its similarity to any number of other stories out there means that it does not stand out in the reader’s mind.  By being strictly prose it does not have art to help it stand out as “Killer Cortez” does.

One of this comic’s greatest strengths is probably the fact that it fully immerses itself in its “identity” of a Sci-Fi pulp – right down to including fake advertisements and a (hilarious) fake letters page.  Beyond the Kuiper Belt brings a lot of fun to the world of comics.  There is kitsch, a bit of silliness, a lot of humor, a smidgen of seriousness and plenty of sci-fi and the whole thing works nearly perfectly on every level the creators are attempting here.  If you like your comics fun with layers and a little knowing wink at the world then definitely seek out this new creation from Free Lunch Comics.

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