By Jordan Jennings
As the name implies, The Adventures of Captain Cosmic #1 is a throwback to the Silver-Age of comics and Hanna-Barbera cartoons in the vein of Space Ghost, Birdman, etc. In the inaugural issue we are introduced to Captain Cosmic and his teenage sidekick and daughter Kid Cosmic as they solve the mystery of the missing planets.
Captain Cosmic opens with a letter from the creator, Andy W. Clift, about his love for the Silver-Age and it shows throughout the comic. Clift went all in on the classic feel using omnipresent narrator and style. The plot is a simple romp, but that is the intention. There isn’t much in terms of introduction to the world of Captain Cosmic, but there doesn’t need to be as we are introduced to the character in media res which builds on the Silver-Age stylings of the story.
The dialog is written with a dramatic flair that is synonymous with this style of comic. It works wonderfully to help cement the comic’s feel. The character work is threadbare, but with most adventure comics that is often the case. Especially when considering the story is completed in one issue and not decompressed, like modern comics. There is some character work in the form of the daughter/side-kick, but it all takes a backseat to the action of the comic.
There isn’t too much made about the relationship between Captain Cosmic and his daughter/side-kick. The comic takes the time to make note of the relationship, but not much else is done with this information. Stories in the Silver-Age style often work more with the action and plot than the character, and that is present here. It is not a true detriment to the comic itself as it is true to the author’s intent. This may be off-putting to some readers looking for a more modern storytelling approaches.
Clift takes the art in the direction that is fitting of the throwback feel to the story. The art is somewhere between that of Alex Toth and Jack Kirby, but with unique twist that is Clift’s own. The comic features details, such as a sepia tone to give it an aged look, along with different gradients of screen tone effects to simulate the old four-color printing process. The comic even includes page numbers in the bottom right panel of each page to complete the period piece.
The character models are heavily inspired by the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons (such as Space Ghost) with the solid, flat coloring and hard geometric shapes ingrained into costume designs. The notable twist that sets Clift’s art apart from other throwback artists is the brilliant expression-work put onto the characters. The characters are all highly emotive and the expressions on many of the characters are highly animated and fluid in appearance.
The layouts found in Captain Cosmic follow the traditional grid style layout and even features a Kirby-esque splash page to open the comic. Clift experiments with the grid to some degree but keeps it simple to avoid confusion. The composition of the panels is solid work and makes the action driven comic zing.
The art does have some draw backs. The lack of backgrounds in most of the panels in favor of solid colors is off-putting to some degree. Not every panel needs a background, but including it would help provide spatial location of some of the characters. Omitting it likely came from not wanting to clutter the shot or for the sake of speed, but additional background work would be a nice touch.
Overall, The Adventures of Captain Cosmic #1 is a nice throwback to the days of space race. The story feels right at home with others in the science fiction cartoons of the Hanna-Barbera world or comics like Fantastic Four. It does a great job with the total immersion into the classic comic feel. I recommend it highly for fans of these style of stories and for casual fans that want a fun comic.
The Adventures of Captain Cosmic #1 can be found on Comixology.
The Adventures of Captain Cosmic #1
Writer: Andy W. Clift
Artist: Andy W. Clift
Letterer: Andy W. Clift
Publisher: Frontier Comics