Alien in the Outfield #1
The first in a self-published four issue mini-series, at it’s core Alien in the Outfield is a mash-up of novel ideas coming out of Jack RB Kirby and Mat Barnett. It’s a children’s story set in the 80’s, with jokes relevant to the era woven through for a parent to catch, but that would fly right over any kid’s head. Giving it that little bit of adult appeal when the plot and presentation cater so much more to a younger audience gives it a great “lead in” appeal. An adult can definitely pick out all the 80’s movie tropes they aim to play off, I think the remastered E.T. reference was my personal favorite (you’ll know it when you see it).
It’s a fantastic first comic – Great for new readers, or parent-child bonding, to show them the appeal of comics. While, as a grown man, I didn’t get too sucked into the plot beyond a healthy appreciation for the humor and going over pages to pick out the 80’s references (there’s some great ones, too), I definitely see the appeal. At first the lack of color bothered me a little, because with something like this that would appeal to kids so well – I really would expect some vibrant colors to engage the eye more and really bring the art off the page. That said, I could also see where with the right printing, or the right set of markers, it lets a child put their own colors on the page.
With the right marketing, this could be an amazing children’s series, though as a series for adults I’m not entirely convinced. That said, I’ve based my review on Alien in the Outfield as not only a solid first issue as a series, but based on the quality and appeal to what I assume will be the market that really gobbles this up: Kids! The art was great but could use tightening up in a few spots since it lacks color or much shading to cover the little awkward bits and pieces that those things usually compensate for. It’s a great first comic for your kids – Something to sit and read with them, teach them to read themselves, and really use to bring them into the world of comics.
Grab your little ones a copy, and start them on their comic collection.