Sir Jon Reviews: (Brendon Small’s) Galaktikon #1
Albatross Funnybooks, Eric Powell’s (of The Goon fame, for those unaware) venture into comic book publishing, has risen to the attention of the Pint O’ Comics team, with brief reviews of some of their titles on the podcast. As such, when a new title with impressive cover art was solicited in June, I had to examine it closer.
Galaktikon first appeared as the title to Brendon Small’s “solo” music album* in 2012, giving fans of the animated series Metalocalypse and band Dethklok something equally fun to chew on, with expectations of more. More did come, with a second album** released with a concurrent comic book at the end of August, 2017.
As I write this review, I’m listening to Galaktikon II: Become the Storm, a space opera death metal album that is so vastly different from just about anything you’ll ever hear on commercial radio, everyone should at least sample it. I’m no death metal fan and I’m enjoying it immensely. It may be time to get a music review up on Pint O’ Comics, because this is meant to be aimed at the comic, which utilizes themes from at least the first album, if not both.
Galaktikon the comic book is intended as a six-issue mini-series, which I was unaware of at the time of ordering. I’m not disappointed in that, though after reading the first issue, I do hope it continues in some form, even if it’s an issue 7, 8 and beyond. Written by Brendan Small, creator of such things as the aforementioned Metalocolypse and also Home Movies, it’s a wild ride of insanity that evokes everything from the highest point of Heavy Metal Magazine during the late 70’s and early 80’s.
The main character, a now-depressed former galactic hero known as Triton, is dealing with a heavily publicized divorce and an overbearing mother. Maybe that’s not the best way to draw in an audience but the dialogue, of which there is a lot, captures you and entrenches the reader right into the story. Is Triton likable? Is he a true hero? What’s dragged him down so? The questions are there, with a few answers to at least give him some humanity, flawed as it may presently seem, yet much of the plot has to play out to reveal more.
What plainly puts Galaktikon firmly in the family of old Heavy Metal stories is Steve Mannion’s art, which acts as the secret handshake of complimentary work. Not one character is clean. There’s drool, there are stink lines and there are insects. Triton wears a helmet that never comes off and the wrinkles on his face can be seen through the eye holes. I want to describe the work as “messy”, but that makes it seem as if I’m saying Mannion has a lesser quality, which is far, far, far from what I mean. He draws backgrounds with fun detail, making them just as dirty or slovenly as the characters in the panels. I felt like I was sent back to my youth, reading my brother’s issues of Heavy Metal that I wasn’t supposed to, because of boobies. It was great! I thank you, Steve Mannion.
To give this comic the full-on review it deserves, lettering by Warren Montgomery was exemplary. This poor guy had a lot to letter, which he either loved or gritted his teeth through. Plus, he had multiple styles to address, which makes me more impressed with him. Todd Klein, watch out! Warren Montgomery is on his way.
Coloring was by Marissa Louise, who was probably feeling Warren Montgomery’s pain, or his excitement. To color the craziness of Steve Mannion’s work must have been daunting, which must be recognized. From the dirt of the planets seen to the space chases, the colors ran the gamut of palette, and that’s a beautiful thing.
The entire book is an amazing, excellent work that drew me in from the cover to the conclusion. I want to give credit to the editing pair of Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh, who obviously wanted this series to really be different and familiar at the same time. The team they put together for the package clicked on all fronts.
Musicians, particularly guitarists, will doubly enjoy the comic, as Triton’s robot companion talks only in musical notes, which Brendan Small put some work into to actually be played to be heard. There is no translation, which is fine by me, a non-guitarist. I like the multi-layered collusion of interests in Galaktikon, pushing the comic into ground rarely tread.
Galaktikon struck me on several levels as a great, overlooked title with so much potential. This book should be seen by more readers and it should definitely win awards, because it’s that good. On the Sir Jon scale of the six-pack, Galaktikon #1 receives an overwhelming six bottles, as all six were drained after appreciating the art, the layout, the color scheme and most definitely the read. Go out and get this book now.
Get off the stick now and make sure you get Galaktikon #2, due out September 27th, 2017.
*Yes, I know “album” is likely not the proper terminology, but I’m going to use it anyway.
**Get used to it.