Blasted! (Ink and Drink Comics)

Good news, everyone! The latest anthology from St. Louis’ own Ink and Drink Comics dives into fantastical futurescapes, fearsome space battles, and every other flavor of science fiction.

 

 

106 pgs., B&W; $11.99
(W / A: Various)
 
The Ink and Drink gang, a band of ink-stained wretches with St. Louis connections, is back with their third anthology of original comics. This time their focus is science fiction and their new anthology, Blasted!, brings you 15 tales which ask "what if?" and sometimes supply the answer as well (as in "please God no-o-o-o…"). The pleasantly retro covers set the tone for the stories themselves: the front cover by Adam Davenport sports a robotic spaceman floating above a barren landscape while the back cover, by Aaron Anderson, has a Weird Tales vibe with two space aliens (one with tentacles, one with lobster claws) menacing a manacled woman in a partial state of undress.
 
The stories you’ll find inside range from political commentary to metaphysical speculation to World War II revisionism, with something to please just about any taste (including splatter action for those of you which go for that sort of thing). Cerebral/philosophical sci-fi is more to my taste so one of my favorites is the first comic in the anthology, "Kids These Days: A Short History of the Future" by Nick Main. It’s not really a traditional story but more a speculation on what the future may bring (hint: it includes pre-birth screening for genetic diseases, nanobots and continued global inequality), stylishly presented with white lettering and grey art against a solid black background.  
 
"Wasted on the Young" (story by Steve Higgins, art by Mike Murphy) recalls a Twilight Zone episode organized around the conceit that it has become possible for the old and rich to purchase years of life from the young and poor. That’s not such an outrageous proposition as it may at first seem, given the demonstrated correlation between wealth and longevity, and like a good Twilight Zone episode this one has a twist ending as well.
 
"Apocalypse Sux" by Jon Scorfina (writing and breakdowns) and Stephanie Richardson (illustration and layout) is an aggressive blenderizing of several popular comics genres and features, among, other things, an indie slacker boy, a tentacled monster and a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Fortunately for the slacker boy, a comic book store miraculously survived the apocalypse. The art is also a mix of genres and invention is more important than logic in this one (else how to explain the slacker’s octopus companion, let alone the war between pistol-packing cats and laser-eyed corgis?), but if you’re willing to go with it, it’s a lot of fun.
 
"Von Braun’s Saucer" (written by Nate Hessling, with a story by Nate Hessling and Brad King, breakdowns by Ahad Bhaiji, and finished art by Carlos Gabriel Ruiz) offers up a first person account of an incident during World War II which explains not only how America won the space race but also where Dave Grohl’s band (and I don’t mean Nirvana) got its name. One could almost rename it "G.I.’s and Aliens" but that would mean passing up on a nifty bit of title art, in which the two S’s of the real titled are replaced by stylized lightning bolts which allude to the Schutzstaffel insignia. 
 
OK, that’s enough teasers. There are 11 more stories, offering up everything from mechanical luchadores to twisty time travel. The official release party is 6 pm on Wed., Sept. 28 at Star Clipper in the University City Loop (details here) and in the mean time you can check out some previews of the art on the Ink and Drink Facebook site (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ink-Drink-Comics/153802134639624). | Sarah Boslaugh

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