Man From Space is an indie comic book by Marc Jackson, I’ve come across his lettering work before but never a comic both penned and drawn by him. Released under the aptly titled Weirdo Comics imprint, I admittedly am not entirely sure what I just read, but that’s a compliment. This is one of the most off-the-wall comics I’ve seen in quite some time and brought back welcome memories of childhood cartoons. Shows where the story would gleefully dance across the line into the nonsensical and laughably implausible, but remain whimsically fun to watch.
The comic begins as a compact spaceship hurtles down into a nearby planet. After hectically landing, the two passengers emerge and discuss their new predicament. We join the story very much in medias res as the two reminisce about the circumstances that brought them to this moment. The dialogue is kept loose and comical as events such as body swapping and wrestling are shown, all wonderfully rendered in a style that couldn’t be more fitting.
A story as mad as this definitely deserves some light hearted images to accompany it. So I’m happy to state that the artwork is incredibly appealing, the bright, funky characters look like they’d fit right in on kids TV. I hesitate to use the term ‘simple’ because although each panel relies on a handful of bright solid colours, it works exceptionally well.
The jokes are zanily ridiculous at times, but they’re all done in such a way that they feel crafted to be just the right level of ludicrous. You feel like you’re in on the joke and it never resorts to just being silly for the sake of silly, it is genuinely funny. It’d be easy to just write random nonsense but Jackson has clearly worked to make sure there’s a consistent tone and, most importantly, that the jokes are actually fairly funny.
If there’s a particular reason to give Man From Space a look, then it’s the art. Any cartoon-like comic would work exceptionally well with Jackson’s art. There are a few more complicated panels that are pulled off really well, showing he can draw much more than just talking characters. I also have to take a moment to praise the lettering. Where many comics fall back on using a straightforward font, Jackson uses a wacky looking font that subtly changes shape, and even capitalisation, that matches the spontaneous feel of the rest of the book.
Speaking of which it leads me to the only real criticism I have, which is that the issue is a little bit dialogue heavy at times. The visual jokes work very well and the issue would perhaps have been better for it if there was more of a balance between the two. As stated, the art is great so giving Jackson a reason to stretch out into some even more daring shots would have been a treat.
Overall the issue is solidly fun. It’s ridiculous and silly but you’d have to be awfully stodgy to not at least get a smile out of this crazy story. If you’re curious to check the comic out, you can find it here.