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Radio Spaceman #1
Dark Horse Comics

Comic Books

‘Radio Spaceman’ #1 feels fresh, if familiar

For all its familiar Mignola traits, it would be a shame to treat Radio Spaceman as a simple Hellboy side piece.

A quiet, ornate room cluttered with Victorian-era, Mary Shelly-style anatomical drawings and models. The cluttered workings of a mechanical room. Existential husks of beings, awaiting life. A sense of dirty, beaten retro-futurism, a society once dreamed of and now passed over. A man driven mad, and his prayers to an ancient space deity, overburdened with vowels. A desiccated woman, restored to youth by blood.

These are all elements that, when combined in one place, become so distinctively Mike Mignola as to be his fingerprints. He’s a man with a distinctive aesthetic, built after nearly twenty years overseeing the Hellboy Universe, not to mention the decade of work building up to that opus. It wouldn’t, by any means, be off the mark to think of him as a visionary, an iconoclast, with all the tropes in his toolkit—all those rough-hewn fingerprints—ripped from pop culture and reconfigured to his personal liking.

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But Radio Spaceman isn’t Hellboy, and while all those things listed above very much populate the world (or, as it were, worlds) of the Spaceman, so, too, do the vibrant oddities of modern sci-fi. For all that Gothic retro-futurism, Spaceman is its own, new unique blend of rocket-jockey aesthetics.

Radio Spaceman #1
Dark Horse Comics

This first issue arrives with its universe intact and its workings established. The Spaceman, a sort of interstellar search-and-rescue force, a galactic ranger piloted by a man in a lab who answers a red, Batman ’66 hotline, is part of some larger system that begs to be uncovered and examined. Space is filled with both laser-firing baddies and mysterious, forgotten monstrosities.

Radio Spaceman #1
Dark Horse

Artist Greg Hinkle breathes a sense of wonder into the pages of this first issue, creating Spaceman Spiff vistas, shattered spacecraft draped in alien flora. He establishes wild alien life and then gives us funny animal-man antagonists. For all the heavy-hued and claustrophobic pages of the Hellboy Universe, the Spaceman world feels bright and airy.

A lot of that vibrancy comes, of course, from colorist Dave Stewart, whose near-neon spaceways and pastel alien world leans more toward his amazing work on Daytripper than it does on his previous Mignola collaborations.

Radio Spaceman #1
Dark Horse

All of this combines to create something a little more zany than even the funniest moments of Hellboy. The stodgy Victorian drawing room falls way into a sort of grouchy workmanship of a man doing his job in the most fantastic of places. The Spaceman–despite his old-man puppeteer–has a sense of childlike comedic timing, his reaction shots more animated than his Mignola cousins (despite being, one would assume, a human skull).

Radio Spaceman #1
Radio Spaceman

For all its familiar Mignola traits, it would be a shame to treat Radio Spaceman as a simple Hellboy side piece. It has the strength to be utterly its own, and even if these two issues are as far as the Spaceman goes, it still feels whole enough to stand alone.

Radio Spaceman #1
‘Radio Spaceman’ #1 feels fresh, if familiar
Radio Spaceman #1
Chock full of Mignola staples, Radio Spaceman #1 still manages to feel like a separate, lighter, brighter thing.
Reader Rating1 Vote
9.1
Whimsical and colorful.
Unburdened by dense mythology.
Moves so quickly it barely feels like a full issue.
8
Good
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