cover image Space Junk

Space Junk

Julian Hanshaw. Top Shelf, $19.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-60309-543-3

In this eloquent, melancholic sci-fi parable from Hanshaw (Free Pass), aliens have used up their planet and must now move onto the next. Young Hoshi and Faith, however, resist the mandated evacuation. Hoshi’s obsessed with chickens and has a metallic leg, while Faith is distinguished by the outmoded tech bolted to her skull. They bond over the similarity of their metal parts and their shared refusal to leave what’s left of their planet. Ostracized by society and bullied by their peers, the pair struggle to fulfill their individual destinies with the help of a therapist and an emotional support chicken. Hanshaw’s soft and curling cartoon work renders humanoid shapes against pale pastel backgrounds, effectively conjuring this alien and dying world. Long sections of dialogue are made dynamic by emotive lettering and speech balloons. An accumulation of fiery indignities and small moments of beauty brings the dreamlike narrative to an explosive climax and a conclusion that’s both optimistic and satisfying. This lush allegory of defiance and growing up resembles a sci-fi version of Daniel Clowes’s Ghost World. (Aug.)