Star Pig by Delilah S. Dawson, Art by Francesco Gaston
IDW, ebook, £9.99
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
On her way to Space Camp, Vess Singh-Rodriguez’s spaceship is deliberately destroyed by an Americana loving spore cloud who is illegally collecting human artefacts (his collection already includes Keanu Reeves.) Luckily for Vess, a space tardigrade recently escaped from a scientific lab rescues Vess. Even though they are light years apart, Theo the tardigrade and Vess have one goal in common; they just want to go home. But as Theo is a mythical creature wanted throughout space for their immortal properties and Vess is from a protected planet, that is not as easy as it sounds. With cloned dogs and space cephalopods chasing them, they will need to work with each other’s quirks to survive.
Every so often, a book comes through that I’m not expecting but when I read it, I’m glad it did. Star Pig is one of those. It’s silly and bright, genuinely funny and nostalgic without being cheesy, and a great little story.
Vess is a strong female character. She’s intelligent, fast-thinking, pragmatic, but also not afraid of her weaknesses as she grieves both the other passengers on her ship and the home life she may not get back to. Theo has a very literal way of thinking which gradually changes throughout the story to adapt to Vess’s personality. His literal nature is amusing and a great foil for Vess’s teenage exuberance. They are a great team.
The references to American pop culture throughout are fresh. No joke or reference is laboured, the art is spectacular so frozen Keanu Reeves or Justin Timberlake’s face on a hospital gown are easily identifiable. Dawson’s references to the dominance of white males in our media is subtle and so packs more of an impact because of its underplayed nature.
I’ve already mentioned the quality of the art in representing familiar faces, but the rest of it needs mentioning as well. Gaston portrayal of Vess matches the story and her actions throughout. She is bright and peppy which comes across in bold colours and actions, but also her fragile grip on herself at times of great emotional disruption is delicately done. Dawson and Gaston have created a seamless piece of story telling and I can’t wait for more.
If you’re a fan of graphic novels and want something a little different from the usual superhero fare, then give Star Pig is definitely worth a go.