Rocket Science

Posted: Tuesday, March 21, 2006
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Rocket Science Creator(s): Various
Publishers: Armchair Comics (Self Published)
From: UK
Price: £2 (UK) / $4 (us)

Rocket Science is a new all –adult anthology comic from the South coast of England. It is described as a multi limbed affair built around the linking device of a chain of objects. It helps to think of the children’s party game "Pass the Parcel" and a Jam session [of either the music or comic variety] during the next few sentences because that is what Rocket Science is a combination of.

The eight contributors brainstormed a sequence of mundane everyday objects [such as a hacksaw and a coat hanger] and then randomly selected one of these objects. They then had to finish their contribution with this object and the next contributor had to start their strip with this same object before using their own object in their final frame and so the parcel gets passed on.

This was a deliberate attempt to give the anthology some unity and sense of cohesion. Sounds like a lot of fun and overall the intention has been successfully realised. The unity provided by the objects does link the varied styles of the eight contributors in a way that would have proven impossible in the traditional eclectic anthology. So we meet slimy, mullet headed entertainers, people who live in a letter box, aliens, a deviant, drunken Popeye and angry [very angry] slugs.
The art on display here is just as varied. From that similar to Steve Bell at his most complex through to basic line drawings and the generous freedom of panel –less pages it is all here.

The overall result is quite exciting as the reader is treated to very different creators working together [kind of] and it is certainly interesting to see what objects are passed on and how they are picked up and incorporated into each strip.

The most encouraging aspect about Rocket Science though is the deliberate attempt to build the sense of community amongst what tends to be a fairly isolated and introspective artistic community.

My personal favourites are the two strips created by Craig Burston, both feature his trademark character a strange wee thing shaped like a tubby punctuation mark. Talking bread head, for that is his name, does battle with space invaders and modifies his car but it is the sharp visual clarity that impresses most and means that these two strips in particular stand out.

This is an adults comic and when the slugs get angry they certainly get angry and when Popeye gets drunk he certainly needs to be watched if one wants to avoid an unpleasant rodgering, but the sense of fun and community means that it never becomes too offensive.

In New Zealand we have Funtime Comics who have adhered to a similar philosophy for more than ten years now, Britain now has it’s own son of Funtime and we wish them well with it.

In a Word: Jammy.

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