Friday, June 29, 2012

Retrospective: Starslip

The end of Starslip, or Starslip Crisis as I always called it, came as a bit of a shock to me.  I wasn't exactly expecting it until it was, well, there.  I will say at least it was an ending, unlike Road Waffles, but still was kind of surprising.

I'm going to say this right now, Starslip was not a great comic.  Not a bad comic by any stretch, mind you, just not great.  A decently good comic that was entertaining, fun, funny, and had some neat story bits.  The idea behind it was turning a ship refitted to be a flying museum, with artwork therein, into a warship commanded by a curator.  Wild antics ensue.

Funny came from the fact that Memnon was not cut out to be any kind of military commander, and yet, somehow, managed it with the help of his fellow crewmembers and friends.  Initially he held them all at arms length, figuring they were beneath him in some way (he was a curator of a museum after all), but as time and adventures wore on, eventually he changed and grew.  A bit.

In fact, the three major cast members really didn't change that much through the course of the comic, which is not a bad thing, mind you.  Jinx remained subservient to a fault, though was far more competent than even he suspected many times, and Cutter was always a retired pirate.  He even got a peg leg near the end.

The art of the comic changed dramatically between the "Starslip Crisis" and "Starslip" phase of the comic, and for the better.  Characters became more than heads put on copy and paste shoulders.  They felt far more real than in the early strips.  Oh, they were still cartoon characters, but more real ones.  As the art style got better, it got more grand and some of the best moments in the later comic were helped by the amazing art.

The storylines were loose and, possibly a bit confusing.  Typically it involved time and universe travel, which creates lots of weird paradoxes and other things.  The finale actually featured an old version of Memnon, his future son, the villain and HIS clone/son fighting agents from the future who could predict actions because they could see time.  Yeah, that finale was wild.

And again, kind of surprising.  It wasn't that the ending wasn't well done, it was, it tied up the major loose ends very nicely.  No, the issue was that there were a lot of smaller plot lines that were left behind.  Nothing major, of course, but enough to leave a nagging taste in my mouth.  The entire Jovia letter arc was incomplete and could have gone on much longer.  In the move to end, I guess, it was necessary, but I still would have liked to see it.

Why did it end though?  Kris Straub has a recording of a live stream regarding it, but never actually answers the question.  I get the impression that he wanted to simply work on something else, and wanted to wrap it up.  That's a fair answer, and one that some artists need to admit too.  At least he gave us an ending, unlike a lot of other artists.

Again, it wasn't a great comic, but I did like it and read it all the way until the end.  The last three comics of my daily read is Station V3, Starslip and Sluggy Freelance in that order, and now there is a bit of a hole in that lineup.  I'll miss the comic, but it sounds as if Straub is planning another story comic, and I intend to follow it.

I'll probably won't have anything next week as I've got a 10 day work week ahead of me.  I'll try to post something saying I'm posting nothing at least.  Until then kiddies.

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