I have two science-fiction webcomics to talk about today: Beardy Bastards and Red’s Planet.
Beardy Bastards, by T.E. “Teb” van Dijk and Jorine Houweling, pretty much had me at the idea of dwarves in a science-fiction setting. What can I say, I’m easy that way. Luckily, the series delivers on the promise of its premise. The story starts in the middle of a worst-case scenario: aliens are invading a mining outpost and have overrun all its defenses within hours. Thekki (pictured below) is the first dwarf we meet, and as you can see, he’s not taking this alien invasion lying down. He is one of the wise-cracking, tough-talking, hard-drinking dwarves who we will follow as they try to warn their superiors about this unexpected threat.
Beardy Bastards is almost 60 pages in and so far there has been plenty of humor, cool action sequences, some nice misdirection, the feeling of real peril for our main characters, and distinctive personalities for each member of the team. The group of dwarves reminds me of how well the colonial marines are fleshed out in Aliens (which is obviously a touchstone for this story). That’s another thing I like. The creators obviously have an appreciation for some classic SF movies like Aliens, Predator, and The Fifth Element. Sometimes it comes out in the comic itself, sometimes in Teb’s comments below the page. In any case, these shared references make the comic even more fun for me. That, and dwarves with flame-throwers. Can’t go wrong with that.
Red’s Planet, by Eddie Pittman, is the story of an orphan called Red (though she can’t stand that nickname), who runs away from her foster home and ends up in outer space. The art style here is very fun and cartoony, especially with all the alien races that we meet. (Check out this page from Chapter 2 (follow the link on the page for a hi-res image) to see a lot of alien and SF in-jokes (let’s play Where’s Han Solo!). I also enjoy the detailed touches on the more everyday parts of the story, like when Red takes her sweater off, it pulls her shirt up, too (don’t you hate when that happens?), or the way her sock flops over at the toes after she loses her shoe. It is Eddie’s keen eye for little details like this that make me pay close attention to each page to see what he has come up with.
I came across Red’s Planet once before but didn’t read it because it appeared to be left unfinished, so when I saw it was up and running again, I was happy to give it another shot and I’m glad I did. (More good news: another Spacedock 7 webcomic returns soon: Cleopatra in Spaaaace! on June 4th.) Red is a fun character and I am looking forward to following her adventures among the aliens.
The Adventures of the 19XX: I never mind dinosaurs in my pulp fiction. Hmmm, someone should do a dinosaur version of Pulp Fiction.
Hunter Black: I like that the Divine Quintet are not all weapons. Each of these items could have a nice series of stories about its history.
LeyLines: The whole sequence leading up to this scene is great, but this page rocks (and it took me by surprise).
Battlepug: There is a history of cute, oversized animal monsters in Battlepug. Gil is no exception.
Up Next on Lithicbee
Fiction Friday: More of what I’ve been reading lately.
Sunday: The Only City Left Part 15, as Allin’s flashback to the time of his parents’ death continues.