The webcomics blog about webcomics

Fleen Book Corner: ATBOP

The thing about Kristofer Straub is, he knows how to cut through the crap. Puff yourself up with pretension, and he provides the pin. Create a genre that’s rife with cliches, he subverts them. He understands human nature, and just what we’ll do for decent dental coverage. And he knows that sci-fi is how you can talk about things that piss you off right now, without losing the funny.

And he brings plenty of the funny with his first collection of Starslip Crisis, A Terrifying Breach of Protocol. Covering about five months and a half-dozen storylines, it sets the stage for the strip and leaves lots of doors open for later visits. His clean, open character style presents well at almost any monitor resolution, but it especially looks good in the larger size that the book permits; given about 30% more space to stretch, the art is even easier on the eyes than online. Characters are boldly designed, contrast between foreground and background is nice and high, and there’s never a confusing panel or word balloon layout, no matter how busy the page. Additionally, it’s great that the overarching trope of Starslip Crisis is art, since Straub is a master at mimicking styles; the man is the webcomics equivalent of that serious art student you see in the Louvre, doing reproductions of the Great Masters. Not to mention the little extras that you get add when publishing a book; the excerpt from the Starslip drive instruction manual is brilliant.

The book itself is well put-together, something I’ve come to expect from Lulu; there are other small presses out there that deal with webcomics that have sold me multiple titles that fell apart on the first read, but ATBOP feels solidly bound and not likely to crap out on me. This page has spoken before on the need webcomics creators have for reputable vendors that will allow merchandise channels to stay open, and it looks like Lulu may fill one of those needs.

To sum: good strip, good art, good basis for future stories, good quality print. In fact, the only reason to not completely love this book is that there’s a nagging fear in the back of my mind that Straub may be annoyed that we’re encroaching on his turf. It’s a terrifying thought, ’cause he’s got that killer shovel, man.

Let me say thanks, and point out to you that Dave Kellett didn’t deign to reply to his book’s post. I’m better than him.

Watch your back, Straub. As soon as I figure out how to use, I’m looking “deign” up…then it’s go-time.

[…] Kris Straub has borrowed a page from popular syndicated comics, having released relatively thin collections of about nine months of strips, then aggregating those (and more!) in an extra-thick […]

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