There’s so much great stuff happening in comics these days that sometimes the best way to find out about new and talented creators is by picking up an anthology like Space Goat Presents. This smartly-designed collection delivers six intriguing intro stories along with some fascinating behind-the-scenes material that shows the care and craftsmanship that went into them.
“Mr. First” leads this book off, written by Shon Bury with eye-popping art by the artist identified as Zid. This is a spectacular sword-and-sorcery epic mixed with science fiction elements, all tied together with gorgeous painted artwork that pulls the storyline together in exciting ways. Though this narrative is filled with surprising twists from the expected, Bury throws in extra twists and turns as it evolves, continually keeping the reader on-edge to discover what happens.
“The Werewolf O’Reilly” by Darren Vincenzo and Yvel Guichet is a mash-up of Iron Fist’s origin with a werewolf extravaganza, telling the origin of a young rich man who finds his way to a mystic temple in the woods where he undergoes training to be a kung fu master – and fight off the werewolves that are endangering the village. You might be able to guess the fun twist that Vincenzo and Guichet deliver, but that doesn’t take away from this enjoyable, quick and entertaining yarn.
“The Family Secret” by Justin Peniston, Eder Messias and inker DYM, is the story of a mom and her two young children who all have super-powers and their attempts to stop a hostage situation. This concept clearly has legs – it’s the sort of thing that any parent or child could imagine being a cool aspect of their life – and the mixture of the lighthearted kids and frustrated mom makes for a delightful ride. I especially liked the moment when the telepathic mom screams in her children’s heads – just like I could imagine doing if my kids and I had these powers.
“Doorkickers” by Scott Mccullough, Shon Bury and Douglas Franchin imagines a military agency empowered to battle strange mystical creatures that find their way to Earth. Though a bit dark and slow to develop, this idea has real potential and could work well as a well-loaded escapist action-adventure.
“Over My Dead Body” by Peniston and Alan Quah is a creepy mystical tale that begins with the amputation of a pretty girl’s hand and moves to darker and weirder places from there. There’s a geeky character at the heart of this “Dead Body” and a shocking moment in a morgue that surprises and creeps out the reader with its unexpected strangeness. There seems to be more going on here than immediately meets the eye, and that makes this piece extra interesting.
The comic section of this book wraps up with my favorite story in this collection. “Big Game Hunters” boasts art by Jok and Estudio Haus that reminded me of Mike Mignola crossed with Richard Corben, and a script by Shon Bury that has a light feel that’s a nice contrast to the dark colors and subject matter. This Victorian melodrama of creepy-crawlies reads at times like a new offshoot to the Mignola-verse – high praise from me.
Behind these comics, we get part one of Bury’s stimulating prose tale “Letters from the Bellybutton of the World”, and many pages of interesting design work created for these stories. This was some of the most stimulating material in this book for me as it showed the thoughtful ways that all the elements of these stories were assembled – classic “DVD bonus features”.
Space Goat Presents makes me go “baa” with happiness. I’d love to read all of these stories as standalone comic books, with my favorite being “Big Game Hunters”. I hope that Shon and his team will return me to their worlds soon.