Saturday, January 30, 2016

Kaptara Volume One: Fear Not, Tiny Alien

Kaptara is a strange, funny adventure story of some astronauts from Earth who get caught up in some outer space anomaly and end up trapped on a strange planet that is a warped version of Eternia. As you can see from the image below, the welcome wagon is not a friendly one:
Our heroes end up teaming up with the strange inhabitants of this land, including a man-at-arms, a boastful prince, a naked wizard, a cat woman, and a floating orb that does not speak but displays positive affirmations and pithy sayings. This motley band ends up encountering all kinds of strangeness, from a village of crass, Smurfish, cannibalistic trolls to insect people who have small lifespans but large appetites for revelry and sport. Part of what makes this book appealing is how kooky and inventive it is, what with all the fantastic characters, creatures, and elements. But additionally there is a lot of humor injected into the story via characters' personalities, their vocal patterns, and short asides. Just check out this early sequence:

This book is the product of writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Kagan McLeod. Zdarsky specializes in humor titles and currently writes Howard the Duck, Jughead, and the award-winning Sex Criminals. McLeod is a successful commercial artist for many high profile publications, and he also created one of my favorite graphic novels Infinite Kung Fu. Together, they are a dream team, with Zdarsky providing the jokes while McLeod delivers on the inventive critters and action sequences. Both creators talk about their inspirations and work on Kaptara in this interview.

This volume collects the first five issues of an ongoing series. Mariah Senecal called the book "beautifully illustrated" and the writing " a nice concoction of sarcasm, wit, and vulgarity."  Publishers Weekly was less than taken with this book, writing "Zdarsky and McLeod pack the pages with off-kilter action, but the cartoonish style is the wrong fit for this adventurous but wildly uneven John Carter of Mars/John Waters SF comedy mash-up." Personally, I enjoyed the book pretty well. I got caught up in the story and appreciated the jokes, even though some fell sort of flat for me. Simply put, I liked it but did not love it.

Fear Not, Tiny Alien was published by Image Comics, and they have more info and previews available here.

This book features strong language, violence, and some adult situations so it is recommended for readers who can handle those things. I want to say that it is recommended for mature readers, though the puerile (not to say unenjoyable) tenor of the humor wants me want to type ironical quotation marks. So, for "mature" readers.

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