WRITER: DELILAH S. DAWSON | ARTIST: FRANCESCO GASTON | PUBLISHER: IDW | FORMAT: PAPERBACK | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Whimsy is a rare thing in modern sci-fi comic books. The trend tends to be for serious heroes doing serious things, or every-man point-of-view types getting into all sorts of grim and dark trouble. As the title might suggest, Star Pig eschews this trend for a tale that is simply very, very silly.
Our main character is a teenage girl called Vess Singh-Rodriguez. While on an exciting school trip to ‘Space Camp’, her space shuttle gets caught up in a tragic accident. Luckily she’s rescued by the titular Star Pig, a ‘mega-tardigrade’ who goes by the name of Theo Tardigrade. Luckily for Vess, Theo is a super hardy sort of alien who’s able to protect her from the vacuum of space. Unluckily for the pair of them, they then get scooped up by something that’s not as cool.
Star Pig is one of those stories where the main characters (a girl and her pig) are constantly avoiding death, going from bad to worse every step of the way. The moments of respite are always going to lead to more trouble and so on. Vess is more of an adult’s idea of a what a teenager should be like, but that’s okay as they’re a ‘sort of futuristic’ character. All the various aliens speak English of course and everyone’s heard of Earth’s pop-culture.
This is a very silly sort of ‘lost in space’ drama and it’s also very charming. Delilah S Dawson is no stranger to science fiction fantasy, as fans of her Star Wars books will cheerfully confirm. Star Pig is very much a different sort of beast. It’s silly without being overtly comic and the main characters aren’t heroes, they’re just trying to get by, dodging one hazard to the next. This is not deep sci-fi, this is fantasy fun.
In parts surreal, in other parts a little scary, Star Pig feels firmly aimed at both the young and young at heart. Francesco Gaston’s art is lovely throughout and there is an attention to detail here that really enhances the ‘fish out of water’ comedy vibe to the entire tale. It’s lovely looking art, though it’s a little samey in places. Both the story and art are consistently entertaining throughout, and though it won’t win any prizes for hidden meaning or originality, it’s still a blast from beginning to end.