Things are quiet, what with the better part of the internet away at SDCC, and only guest strips left behind to console the forgotten. And considering exactly who might be attending the con, who knows what might yet happen to those in attendance?
Starslip Crisis is a very interesting strip. It feels like something formulaic – and I should make it clear that isn’t meant in a bad way. It is a strip designed around a relatively simple premise, with straightforward characters who live in a single stable environment. When it started out, I viewed it as a simple device for commentary on art and pretension, in much the same vein as Checkerboard Nightmare. And while it may have overridden that perception early on, it has remained the sort of strip one could see in the funny pages – four panels with a small, identifiable cast, and a punchline you can count upon at the end of every strip.
But every so often it does shake things up. Things may return to what resembles the status quo – but some changes remain. The plot slowly but steadily moves forward. This is what has managed to make the comic really excel – that it has managed to bring in all these elements of plot and characterization while still holding on to its original form.
That doesn’t mean, though, that every single shake-up doesn’t come with a measure of risk. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – we’ve all heard the saying, right? But just because the formula works, doesn’t mean there is no reason not to try and improve upon it. Every now and then, things heat up, and we get a glimpse at the Chronomantic or see a familiar robot in his quest to destroy all humans.
Or, in this case, we move from what seems to be just another musuem exhibit to a full-on trip through space and time.
I’m not sure where things will go from here. I suspect it will be largely a chance to have fun with cameos and the like – but nonetheless, I like the lengths to which Straub went to set it up. And more than that – I like the surprise of it all. The fact that we have a strip that enjoys occasionally just changing gears, and that can do so in a fashion that isn’t disruptive to the reader.
It is always a good sign when you can tell that the creator of a comic is indulging themselves and has decided to just have fun with what they’re doing – and not only doesn’t ruin the comic doing so, but actually manages to enhance it.