Project: Telstar

published by Adhouse books, designed by Chris Pitzer

ISBN: 0972179429

This is one gorgeous book. It feels nice and heavy in your hand, has full-color front and back covers, rounded corners, and is printed not just in black ink, but metallic blue as well. Telstar is an anthology with a theme: space, and robots. This is one of the things I love about comics: space and robots is enough of an organizing principle to bring together some fantastic stories.

Not one inch of space is wasted in this book. Dave Cooper’s story runs on the covers and endpapers; it is a wordless and amazing insect versus giant robot war. His piece was one of several I enjoyed by people whose work I haven’t read before. Bernie Mireult’s “Artifact 8201” fits in this category, along with Max Estes’s “Henry Heads South”, Gregory Benton’s “Passover” which I think is the longest story in the book, and Mark Burriur’s “Piano Music.”

There were pieces by artists whose work I knew and admired, too. Joel Priddy’s (Pulpatoon Pilgrimage) “Long Slow Flight of the Ashbot” used the metallic blue as the page color, leaving his panels black and white, and this enhanced the “floating in space” quality of his narrative. “We Were Not Made For This World,” Paul Hornschemeier’s (Forlorn Funnies) contribution, is another robot story, beautifully printed in its screened metallic blues, and is a haunting yet hopeful story.

Anthologies have their weaknesses: lack of purpose or cohesion, uneven quality, the fact that most readers just aren’t going to like all the choices the editor makes. And true enough, there are some pieces in this volume I didn’t really care for — Jay Geldoff’s “An Eye for An Eye”, with its “I know I’m a story” aside wasn’t really my thing, and two “Portfolio” bits, which weren’t stories at all, I could have done without.

The strengths of the anthology format definitely win out in Project: Telstar, though: the opportunity to find new artists; collecting stories on a theme, albeit a loosely-based one, (and I think robots and space is a natural for comics); and even the chance to reconsider people who you know but aren’t sure you like. For example: I admit that, despite many indie-types raving about him, I haven’t been that interested in Jeffrey Brown’s (Clumsy) work — I just didn’t think, based on a fairly quick perusal, that the guy can draw. I kinda liked his story here, though, and I think his can’t-really-draw drawing style may grow on me.

This is a fun, beautiful book with some great stories in it; highly recommended.

One thought on “Project: Telstar

  1. Hey JS,
    I’ve recently rediscovered your site and I can tell it’s going to be dangerous. Your reading list is far too interesting and will probably cause me to buy even more books. And this is already a problem for me. This Telstar book looks like a lot of fun. Same with the Quit Your Job book. And by the way, couldn’t agree more with your comments about the reality-impaired pope on your blog. Ciao.

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