- Oswald & the Star-Chaser #1
- Scout Comics
- Written by Tommy Kulik
- Illustrated by Tom Hoskisson
- Colors by Rebecca Good
- Lettered by Tyler Villano Maron
- Created by Tommy Kulik & Tyler Villano Maron
- In shops February 8th, 2023
Torn from his training after King FEK usurped the throne, space knight Oswald Bretters embarks on a quest to save the Star Lands!
As headstrong as he is, even Oswald knows he can’t restore his fallen kingdom alone, so he searches for his childhood heroes to bolster his ranks. With the watchful eye of King FEK omnipresent, Oswald luckily runs into all-star help! The mysterious mercenary Star-Chaser joins his cause, but can they really be trusted!? It all starts here—the adventure of a lifetime—at the edge of space!
I don’t presume to speak for everybody. You all have the thing that you look for in a comic, and that’s awesome. To quote co-creator/writer Tommy Kulik, one common denominator that seems to bring folks running is a “mercenary who wears a Cool Guy space helmet,” so Oswald & the Star-Chaser has that going for it. Another near-universal truth is that store shelves are chock full of serious, heavy-handed, hard-hitting stories about sci-fi dynasties & oppressive galactic rulers. We all love ‘em, and there’s no use denying it, but now and again some casual reading with a hard lean into the fun of comics is needed.
So far, Oswald is hitting on some pretty familiar tropes: Evil Emperor, idealistic Space Knight, the gathering of a heroic team to stand against tyranny! It’s all here, and it makes me want to track down a copy of Battle Beyond the Stars. What made me want to stick around and keep reading was the often humorous, occasionally hilarious dialogue happening in the panels. Tommy Kulik has a fantastic handle on dry wit as characters provide a running commentary behind Oswald’s talk of his righteous quest. With a young idealist wandering around, unironically spouting about battling for freedom and justice, Kulik gives the story a great counterpoint by letting characters voice their conflicting opinions in the background.
With some fun, fast-moving dialogue keeping things moving in an issue full of setup but lighter on the action, it falls to the artistic team of Tom Hoskisson (artist), and Rebecca Good (colors) to make sure the book’s visuals hold up. Hoskisson has a gift, blending aspects of manga and sci-fi pulp into a style that keeps to the light tone of the script. Characters all have something about them to keep them unique, even if their ultimate purpose is to roll their eyes at Oswald’s naïve idealism. When the story does shift into action, Hoskisson shows the chops for setting up some dynamic fight choreography and it left me thirsty for more. The colors by Good (heh… Good colors) keep it going, adding depth and bringing out the details without undoing the cartoon aspect of the comic.
Co-creator and letterer Tyler Villano Maron brings it all home, using panel layouts to his advantage. While the script is presented in a relatively no-frills style, there are pages of impressive presentation… in particular, there’s a two-page spread of exposition that gives readers a brief history of regimes past & present, and the verbal outrage of an angry mob. All of it is set so as not to break up the artwork or interfere with what’s happening in the panel. Best of all for the old farts, Maron’s fonts don’t induce a migraine when trying to read them. Don’t snicker… it’s happened.
With an impending battle against the forces of Evil (pronounced Eee-vyl) and a cool helmeted space merc, Oswald & the Star-Chaser has most of what a growing body needs (statement not supported by medical professionals). After this solid start, I’ll happily be waiting for the following issue to see where the star winds take us. Keep at it, Scout Comics… you’re doing great!
Final Score: 10/13