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Starslip: Art never truly ends


Was I supposed to write today’s Faceplant for Elrood?  I honestly can’t remember.  Much of this week has been lost in a haze of being overworked and apathetic about everything and everything.  I am guessing, due to a complete lack of Elrood-centric posts today, that yes this is something I was supposed to do and that he had told me about it once maybe, and also that Elrood is dumb and his face is dumb and I’m calling his mom to tell her that we are fighting.

Turns out this is a good day for a comic review!  After seven years of production, Chris Straub’s Starslip finally called it quits, ending with a surprisingly twisty storyline about…  uh…  time.  Tough to explain, especially if you have never followed Starslip before.  Lets view the breakdown, shall we?

Starslip has gone by several different names over the years.  First known as Starshift Crisis, the story followed Memnon Vanderbeam, the curator of a traveling space museum called the Fuselli somewhere in the distant future.  Vanderbeam was joined by his drunken ex-pirate pilot, Cutter Edgewise, and his subservient alien assistant Mr. Jinx.  Many of the early adventures feature the interactions between the three characters, as Vanderbeam’s pompous arrogance had a tendency to rub Edgewise the wrong way, and the fact that Vanderbeam liked to…  make use of Mr. Jinx as much as possible.  Eventually, Straub also introduces Meridan Holiday, a worker in engineering, to round out the cast.

There early comic also explored the relationship of science and art.  I’m not sure if Straub ever attended art school, but he does know how to analyze a theoretical space piece with the best of them.  But slowly, through the comic’s seven year long run, other factors started to add up.  There was Jovia, a princess of the Saturn colonies that Vanderbeam pursues a seemingly futile relationship with, Katarakis, the world-conquering insane despot, and the presence of a sketchy dictatorship that may be exploiting parallel universes a tad more than is healthy.

Lousy peaceniks!

(There’s also a liberal amount of poking fun at the 21st century going on here, too.  I hope beyond all hopes that within a thousand years, Concrete Universe is an actual show that is on space-television.)

By the end of the comic’s run, Starslip is a very different beast.  Vanderbeam is still an artistic professional, but his goals have changed.  His staff, who once stuck with him because that is what the job required, now stick with him out of friendship.  New characters are added, and others taken away.  The end result of Starslip examines Vanderbeam’s long, winding path to reach a seemingly impossible goal.  It doesn’t matter to him how long it will take, or even what he’ll have to give up to reach that point.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Starslip over the years, and I’m definitely going to miss seeing updates in the comic.  My only critique here is that it seems like there should be more.  Vanderbeam’s story is complete, but what about the rest of the characters?  Where do they go from here?  That’s left to our imagination.

Also, be advised that Starslip can be a difficult comic to get into.  I was personally turned off from the comic initially by just how pretentious Vanderbeam can be.  Still, over the course of the comic, he does become an actual human being.  It just takes a while to understand where he’s coming from.

Having a kid is the best way to handle all work related problems

OH and this is a comedy!  Almost forgot about that!  Jokes can be subtle or about Cutter boozin’ it up, or about Mr. Jinx and his HORRIFYING physiology.  He’s a Cirbozoid.  They come from the planet Cirbozoid.

Anyway, Straub plans to continue updating his joke-a-day comic Chainsawsuit, which is another good comic I check regularly.  He also mentioned in his blog plans to begin another long story form comic, though it’s unclear at this time what the story will be about or where it will take place.  It’s definitely something to keep an eye on while trolling the internet for quality comics.



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