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Fleen Book Corner: SD

My respect for Kristofer Straub’s Starslip Crisis jumped a couple of notches while I was reading his second collected volume, Sparkling Diplomacy. The book covers the daily strip from October 19, 2005 to May 22, 2006, and lays the foundation for the titular crisis that forms the spine of the overall story.

The actual cause and nature of the crisis aren’t revealed in the strips contained in this book (I guess you’ll just have to buy book 3 when it comes out), but the seeds of it are there. What looks like a slight, throwaway gag about men and women remembering conversations differently takes on a whole new significance in the light of later events. What appears to be a bit of background detail will play a crucial and dramatic role months later. All these hints were always there — they’re just easier to see when reading the story in big chunks (literally so — as in the first collection, the strips in SD are printed larger than their own-screen equivalents, making those small details easier to notice).

Once again, Straub has added commentary and biographical info on the dramatis personae throughout the book; especially in the case of Lord Murdertron, these are helpful in understanding the characters better. Add in the usual top-notch job from Straub in keeping the story (and the funny) rolling along day after day in the context of a larger dramatic story arc, and you’re left with a must-read. Sadly, there is one down note in an otherwise wholly-enjoyable collection: Straub has opted to keep his barely-concealed, vicious character assassination of T Campbell in the collection, slightly marring an otherwise sterling effort. He makes up for it by including his contribution to the Blank Label Comics Hurricane Telethon, so we’ll let it slide this time.

Lulu did their usual bang-up job on the printing, although it appears that they’ve moved to a less-white paper stock; other Blank Label books have a brighter white on the page, where SD is a somewhat muted cream color. Restful, but brighter might have been better.

That’s funny, because the last Starslip book had those cream-colored pages, too. I actually prefer them; they’re easier on the eyes.

Much like Kristofer himself.


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