Shooting Star #5

Posted: Tuesday, October 5, 2004
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Shooting Star #5

Editor: Sean Taylor
Publisher: Shooting Star Comics
Address: 5665 Hwy. 9, Suite 103-140, Alpharetta, GC, 30004, USA.
Price: $4.95(US)

The high standard set in previous editions meant that the arrival of the latest Shooting Star Comics Anthology was positively saliva inducing. The excitement was however tempered by the fear that this latest edition [Summer 04] would fail to live up to these expectations. The cover promises much as new characters pose alongside familiar ones in a colourful and energetic group montage. It was all looking good as I settled back to read the opening story, With Roses Bedight, and I was completely blown away.

Tight and controlled this eight page comic written by Stefan Petrucha and drawn by Jeziel Sanchez Martinez is probably the best short comic I have read for many years. The distinctive art- work is a joy to behold but this is not the most impressive aspect of this story. What sets this tale apart is the writing. Here we have a fully realised, self contained and well- paced story. It has taken all of the factors that contribute to successful short story writing and transposed them with genuine literary skill into the comic genre. As such this tale should be compulsory reading for any creators who want to produce short, successful comics.

Like a good short story With Roses Bedight works with economy and implication to establish the setting, the characters, the relationship and the conflict. It focuses on a brief interaction between a father and a child and infuses it with heart rending allegory. This bittersweet meeting provides a cutting comment about modern parenting and the role of the family in our modern world.

Our sympathy for the child character is aroused as the heart felt ending drips with irony.
This is serious stuff. Imaginative, innovative yet totally accessible. The story works because it is so well written and because the vision between artist and writer is obviously a shared one. I am not sure what the sales of this anthology are but this tale in particular needs to be read by anyone remotely interested in contemporary comics.

The rest of the anthology could not possibly maintain this standard. In places though it does come close. The closing comic, Always, a Jazz Age horror tale from Sean Taylor and Erik Burnham is also a well- paced and extremely satisfying comic. Noticeable for the powerful use of close up and believable [if tense] dialogue between the two main characters this comic provides a fitting high point to close the anthology with.

In between these two peaks is a diverse series of six comics. The most successful is a brand new tale from one of the regular characters, Aym Geronimo. The distinctive art style perfectly captures the spiritual dimension of this story rooted, as it is, in North American Indian cultural beliefs and traditions. The use of black is particularly effective in assisting the creation of atmosphere here.

Elsewhere the use of computer generated fonts for the onomatopoeic effects is annoying and at times the frantic pace of the action dominates the storyline but these are minor quibbles.

The two humerous "Tick like" super hero stories [Yankee Doodle and Bed Bug] are amusing and enjoyable. The Rex Solomon tale set on a train in Europe around 1940 works well until the final frame that jars as it is so stilted in comparison with what precedes it. To top it all off we also have Bruce Lee and Dinosaurs. What more could a person want.

Once again a very impressive, eclectic collection. What sets it apart though is the quality of the story telling.

In a Word: Literate.

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