Always on the lookout for a new cover artist, this past weeked I dragged the family down to check out a free geekfest and almost got suckered. A couple of brothers had a booth at the Indy Comics corner, so I snagged Tales of the SS Junky Star from them only to discover that the them I’d been chatting with were the Yuan Twins and not the Fillbach brothers. Should have known from the name.
No problem, I bought a copy of the Yuan Twins’ comic, too. More on that at a later date. Today, we’re talking digest-sized, blue collar space adventure starring the crew of the titular ship.
The artwork is blocky, chunky, and fun. This is the fresh sort of rushed job that betrays a deep appreciation for the art form. With only black and white, the Fillbach boys manage to evoke a whole colorful palette. With plain lines and sharp shaping, they craft a fully realized and sprawling universe filled with secrets and dark corners just waiting for the right ragtag crew to poke around and come out with something fun. If more books like this had crossed my path in high school, I would have had a much easier time running that Traveller Campaign that always eluded me.
Turns out the Fillback boys aren’t as Indy as I thought. They spent eight years drawing Star Wars books for Dark Horse Comics. It shows here, on one of those increasingly rare occasions where “like Star Wars” means a compliment. Captain Tug is a gray haired old hand. Boomer, his shaggy second hand “man” is a bit of a blank slate just yet. The mechanic, Drax, looks like muscle of the crew. And the quartet is rounded out by co-pilot Roz, a hard edged cowgirl complete with whip and Puritan hat. They find an orphan on a derelict ship that turns out to be less derelict than expected.
Said alien child turns out to be a sweet little MacGuffin that leads them through a compact little adventure with betrayals and action and heel-face turns and even a slice of pathos pie to round things out. It’s sweet, innocent fun, and that’s so rare these days it is a thing to be treasured. I have no idea how you can get a copy. It’s just one of those rare finds that you might stumble across at the local con – if you do stumble, don’t hesitate to crab a copy for yourself.