Writer & Artist: Ken Garing
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)
I hate a lot of comic creators for their craptacular dialing in of content as their fame grows. Then there are creators like Ken Garing who breed a different hate, a hate spawned from envy at their immense talent and ability to take simple concepts we’ve seen before and create something wholly new from the pieces. But Garing smooshes our nose in his talent even further since he’s able to not only come to the table with the great high level, but is a one-man house of talent in execution as well.
I’ve had a comic in the works now for the last three years. Sadly, all I can do is write and I had to source the rest of the resources that will visualize my words. This is the common mold for 99% of the books out there. There’s a reason for this compartmentalization in comics, writers usually can’t draw and artists usually can’t write; God’s class balancing if you will. Then there are fuckers like Garing who do both to such an exceptional level their first book gets gobbled in seeming seconds when you look at the long roads others must take to getting published.
I reviewed the first issue of PLANETOID several months before Garing was signed on by Image. Also it was when I thought PLANETOID was going to be a mere space survival tale. And it is to a certain extent. The tale starts at the end of a great galactic war between humans and the Ono Mao empires, and every species unfortunate to get caught in the middle of their galactic land grab.
Silas Aden is a Bruce Willis type middle-aged pilot who is unfortunate enough to crash land on a manufacturing planetoid that has long been forgotten by both empires – at least on first glance.
Through the first few issues Aden was a victim of survivalist instinct, trying desperately to get any communication running that will get him off this barely inhabitable rock.
The more he comes to know this lifeless rock though, the more he realizes there might be more, and a better life, here than back on the almost mythical mother Gaia.
This is one of those books where I don’t want to spoil a moment of its awesomeness. Through the simple theme of space and a stranger in a strange land, Garing explores the nature of man, our thirst for freedom and our even greater thirst for connection wherever we can find it. The concepts of sacrificing self for the greater good is Aden’s journey, but the detail to which Garing gives that journey through a careful balance of well-crafted art and words makes me hopeful for the fact that the soul of space exploration tales didn’t end with Gene Roddenberry. Aden redeems himself by creating a new and thriving culture on PLANETOID as he’s valiantly trying to escape that culture and leave.
Garing could easily turn PLANETOID into complete and epic space opera if he so chooses. I know I would love to write a little fan fiction about the state of Mother Gaia in this post post industrialized future. The forgotten relics f manufacturing permeate this peace, and unlike derelict coal or steel towns Garing’s visuals are as epic in scope as they are haunting in spirit.
I love this book; it’s an infusion of space drama that hasn’t been satiated in awhile. SAGA is great, but it’s a fantasy compared to the stark reality of space. Space is cold, space is harsh, we are its slaves and we must find solace whenever it presents itself.
Read PLANETOID and if you don’t like them, I’ll buy them from you. Yes, that’s how much I believe in this work.