SPACE BASTARDS, ISSUE #1
Updated: Feb 9
Writers: Eric Peterson & Joe Aubrey
Illustrator: Darick Robertson
WHAT IS IT?
A high-stakes action narrative where financial disparity forces postal workers into a murderous space adventure.
Think of this comic as Repo Man thrust into a blood-drenched, thematically-layered action story like Tarentino's The Hateful Eight.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
In a space-inhabited future, general employment and paying bills is still required for basic survival. Murder and violence have overrun the planets as everyone has adopted an "everyone for themselves" mentality in the fight for financial security. Exploitative corporations don't care about the little guy, and accountant David S. Proton finds himself unemployed, nearly homeless, and in desperate need of some fast credits as a result.
Just when his future seems hopeless, Davey hears about the Intergalactic Postal Service. Interplanetary travel makes delivering packages difficult, so Postmaster General Roy Sharpton has devised a profiteering system to prompt interested citizens to join. The individual who enacts the final delivery of said package receives a huge sum of money that rivals any desk job payout.
Because of the high-risk, high-reward incentive, individuals will kill one another to increase the changing-hands payment value. When Davey shadows the supernatural, hard-core veteran Manicorn on his first day, he wonders if he can endure this cutthroat-world of violence. Does Davey have what it takes to survive?
Writers Peterson and Aubrey use comedic overtones to level the inherent brutality of this world. Robertson illustrates gory violence with explosive exaggeration, manifesting as humorously over-the-top, rather than repulsive.
Renowned artist Darick Robertson complements the dialogue's thematic relevance. He vibrantly illustrates spaceships and the vastness of a space readers recognize.
On the same note, Rodriguez uses energetic oranges and blues to illuminate both the grim darkness of space and the dystopian city settings.
Bowland's lettering is weighty in this comic. Crucially, he uses a resonant, computerized font whenever the "Parcel Transferred" notification on the packages rings out after its previous deliverer is incapacitated or killed.
There's numerous depictions of murder throughout, but the intelligent and quick-moving dialogue immediately forces readers to understand why the visual violence is more than appropriate.
The protagonist, David "Davey" S. Proton is an archetype character that reflects the everyman struggle of a working-class citizen. His plight -- an accountant let go from his job because of a capitalist system working against him -- solidifies Davey an instantly relatable character for readers.
The supernatural postal worker, Manicorn, works as a character on every level. Although Peterson and Aubrey write Manicorn as an intimidating, brash beast that will win at any cost, you root for a character who demonstrates relentless resilience to survive.
Robertson skillfully designed Manicorn as an imposing biker with a horn coming out of his head that makes a lasting visual impression.
Additionally, Robertson's unique character designs heralds endless levels of visual acuity throughout Space Bastards. For example, there's a Hellboy-inspired beast, colored in gritty reds and blacks by Rodriguez. His facial expressions are rendered realistically so that his character almost appears almost 3-D.
Native Americans are given representation, despite this narrative taking place in a fictional, dystopian space. Bestowing the Native Americans with economic power through the thriving postal worker business is an interesting worldbuilding facet.
This comic uses space as a setting to its advantage. Translating current economic disparity into a futuristic space story creates a germane narrative.
Panel work is excellently crafted. Your eye moves quickly across each explosive image of fire or space travel or men fleeing from murderers who want their parcel. There's flawlessly executed fluidity capturing the high-octane action.
Space Bastards #1 is mature in its themes but generally teeming with humorous fun.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Content Warning: Intense violence, encouragement to murder, gore, and death in a multitude of different methods are present in this bloody comic.
There's an excess of profanity in here. Profanity is appropriate because of the characters and cutthroat world created, but it may turn away some readers (if they weren't already turned away from the word "Bastards" in the title alone).
Roy Sharpton's character isn't given much development, despite how important he seems to be to the overarching narrative. There could have been a page or two less of explosions replaced with beginning to unravel Roy's enigmatic motivations.
Davey's wife immediately wants nothing to do with him after he loses his job. Similarly, Davey's father remains completely indifferent to assisting Davey in any way, but readers never understand why. Being shoved in medias res into Davey's general life detracted from establishing Davey's character before he enters the postal worker work force.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Although this story appears simplistic on the surface level, Space Bastards is a brilliant -- and hilarious -- social commentary about present-day capitalism. The Space Bastards creative team harvests familiar facets of our current reality and molds them into a science-fiction space world with eerily similar core issues.
Peterson and Aubrey deftly fashion a volatile and expansive universe that Robertson and Rodriguez supplement with innovative artistry. Bowland's crisp lettering also immensely adds to the reading experience. Space Bastards #1 prides itself on a portrayal of debauchery that could easily symbolize a plausible dystopian future of American society if our evident tendency for violence was left unrestrained. Amid the unabated savagery and mayhem, Space Bastards #1 emerges as a masterclass in using brazen humor to elevate its profound storytelling.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Jesus Christ: In the Name of the Gun by Eric Peterson
Wacky Raceland by Ken Pontac & Leonardo Manco
The Fix by Nick Spencer & Steve Lieber
If you like the art:
The Boys by Garth Ennis & Darick Roberson
Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson
Scooby Apocalypse by Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis, Jim Lee, & Howard Porter
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Eric Peterson – Writer
Multitalented: In addition to writing comics, he has a background in screenwriting, and Film/TV Production.
He wrote all three volumes of the comic series, Jesus Christ: In the Name of the Gun.
While attending film school, he made short films for the Space Bastards concept that would transform into this comic.
Joe Aubrey – Writer
He met Eric Peterson in the early 2000s when Peterson first conceptualized Space Bastards.
New Face: Previously worked in the medical field, making his writing for Space Bastards a significant creative endeavor.
Darick Robertson – Illustrator
Name Recognition: He is the comic book illustrator for the highly popular titles, The Boys and Transmetropolitan.
Prolific: He has been in the comic book industry for over thirty years, illustrating for hundreds of comics and working for the big two comic companies, DC and Marvel.
At only seventeen-years-old, he drew his first published comic, Space Beaver.
Diego Rodriguez – Colorist
Outlander: Hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
He has worked as a colorist for major comic companies like Valiant Entertainment, Marvel, DC, and Image.
According to his Instagram, he has an adorable child and an equally adorable cat.
Simon Bowland – Letterer
Outlander: Hails from Cheshire, England.
He has worked for a letterer on many comics such as the Eisner-nominated The Dreaming, Lazarus, Skyward, and Green Lantern: Earth One.
He is married to comic book colorist Pip Bowland.
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All Space Bastards characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Eric Peterson, Joe Aubrey, and Darick Robertson or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED