Created and Written by Robert Farinholt and Kenneth Centers
Pencils and Inks by Paul Gori
Finishing colors by Hector Rubilar
Inking Assistance by Roman Hitzeroth
Color Assistance by Paula Goulart
Edits, Lettering, and Design by Shawn M. Greenleaf
Cover Art by Steve Thomas
It should probably be well known by now that I’m a Sci-Fi fan on many different levels, even when it’s broken down to genre’s within the genre. In other words I can get immersed into a fantasy world like Star Wars or I can wonder about the technical possibilities of worlds like that of Star Trek. I’m not picky when it comes to good Sci-Fi and I feel like maybe Astropunk is a good example as to why you give everything a shot before dismissing it. The story of Astropunk is clearly Murder on Mars, as the title suggests but what writers Farinholt and Centers have done is weave together a noir style murder mystery within the Sci-Fi world. The story starts out very strong with an introduction to the main character Leslie Dent and her everyday hardcore police activities. The book starts off average enough; chasing bad guys, blowing off hands of said bad guys, the usual stuff, but soon after it starts to gain momentum and dive into the world of Mars and how it works. Without diving too hard into the storyline I can say that the world building is extensive and the storyline is actually stuffed to the gills with interesting characters and a world that is very complex, so complex in fact that the story has to hold back as it builds and this fact really adds to the old school noir feel. The writing is actually superlative in introduction to the character as well as the world.
This artistic team of Gori, Rubilar, Hitzeroth, Goulart, Thomas, and Greenleaf have struck all the right cords in this mesh up. I usually don’t add the letterers in with the artists because I like to give them their own due but in this case I feel it’s fairly important because Greenleaf has not only lettered the book magnificently he also designed some of the pages. I feel like the best part of the design choices are first thing when I grabbed looked at it and again when I opened up the book to the first page. Thomas has a wonderful cover that brings out the 50’s style noir and Greenleaf doubles down with a design for the credits page that looks almost like a 50’s movie poster. This brings out the feel of the book and started me off right with that 50’s feel that stuck in the back of my head for the entire read.
Now as much fun as the noir style is and the way that the design and cover art start it off wouldn’t amount to much if Gori, Rubilar, Hhitzeroth, and Goulart didn’t continue the story with fitting artwork. What I mean by fitting is that Gori has a style that stays true to the Astro Punk feel but still feels noir enough to pass for 50’s Sci-Fi. The style isn’t just fitting it must have been a conscious decision, the way the book flows and sticks within the tight parameters of the books descriptions is a sign of a great artist. Gori’s style is evident but much different from the book I reviewed last week that he was also an artist on.
The colors that Rubilar chose have me somewhat stumped; their bright yet dull, loud yet muted, smooth yet grimmy, and just all around mind boggling. Even though they don’t fit into any sort of mold they are perfect in every way; Detective Dent has a wild hair color that is contrasted by the muted feel of the Mars background, yet some of the background sticks out and is bright as well. Overall I can’t put my finger on anything specific but the feel of this books color scheme is pleasing to the eye. The way that everything fits into this noir 50’s style feel is a true testament to the artistic team and the way that they jive together has allowed them to put together a very nice product.
The Kickstarter for Astropunk Murder on Mars is still going on and they have already hit their goal so there is no worry of not getting your reward. I have already pledged and I suggest you do the same!