Deep Space Canine

Deep Space Canine
Deep Space Canine review
  • UK publisher / ISBN: Avery Hill - 978-1-910395-29-5
  • Release date: 2017
  • UPC: 9781910395295
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no

Under Kat Chapman’s cover, Beth Wood (sample art left) opens Deep Space Canine’s framing plot with Space Commander Greacy infuriated that she can’t locate her favourite pair of knickers. It becomes a quest taking her on a long and strange journey, with four other creators guiding her destiny. In order of appearance, Lucy Haslam (sample art right), Honey Parast, Jenn Woodall and Becca Tobin all contribute a few pages spotlighting the Space Commander’s trials, their styles and approaches wildly different, while Wood links their contributions moving the plot forward.

Woodall’s style is the most obviously commercial, neat figurative cartooning presenting strong visual personalities, and Honey Parast works appealingly in 3-D. It’s difficult to know what to make of Lucy Haslam’s pages. They stretch the definition of comic storytelling into fine art abstractions, while Becca Tobin’s work is primitive, painting bright, bulky figures. None of them is an easy fit with Wood’s cartooning, which is partly the point. Her continuing plot involves the Space Commander having strange, almost hallucinogenic experiences, and that’s how those play out. Will she ever find her knickers?

The creators all obviously had a lot of fun with Deep Space Canine, to the point of conceiving the collective name Comic Book Slumber Party, and continuing the project with additional contributors on the follow up Escape From Bitch Mountain. There’s also something to be said for a combination of the whimsical and surreal, but a few slight jokes can’t hide the lack of narrative. There’s just not enough substance for a £10 paperback.