cover image Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987–1991

Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987–1991

Scott McCloud, . . Harper, $24.95 (575pp) ISBN 978-0-06-164512-9

Understanding Comics ' McCloud spent the first six years of his career on this lesser-known Astro Boy –inspired comic. This mammoth volume collects issues 11–36, along with lots of commentary from McCloud. The series stars Zot, a teenager from an alternate Earth where rocket-powered boots and laser guns are commonplace, and Jenny, a girl from our Earth who just wants to escape her humdrum high school existence. The zippy, pulpy stories feature Zot facing off against a multitude of villains, from robots run amok to thwarted, steampunk-style inventors. Looking through the comics peers through a window at the development of a comic writer's talents; as the art morphs slowly into McCloud's recognizable style, the stories take on more sophisticated subject matter—one later issue features Zot and Jenny discussing sex, like a scene from a soapy teen drama. McCloud's love of classic superhero comics is clear, even as he consciously contrasts it with the problems of the real world. The collection only suffers from the absence of the first 10 issues, leaving new readers confused at some unexplained plot twists, but it is sure to be a treasure trove for McCloud fans or lovers of intelligent retro comics action. (July)