Acclaimed writer and artist Sina Grace’s (Getting It Together, Marvel’s Iceman, The Li’l Depressed Boy) new graphic novel Rockstar & Softboy Go To Space – the sequel to their iconic 2022 Image Comics graphic novel Rockstar & Softboy – has a hard-to-define genre, wavering between comedy, drama, science fiction adventure, magical tale, and queer love story… and that is what makes the comic so beautiful and brilliant. Rockstar & Softboy Go To Space is somehow able to capture the brilliance of truly hilarious pop culture references while also digging deep into the invaluable importance of queer community and LGBTQ+ spaces, while also giving the reader a wildly exciting space adventure with the perfect amount of gay magic, rowdy sexiness, and out-of-this-world hijinks.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Rockstar & Softboy Go To Space!
Rockstar & Softboy Go To Space is an oversized one-shot (although not oversized enough!) that follows the adventures of the titular Rockstar and Softboy – adorable gay BFFs who fail together, love together, and grow together as they are exiled from their West Hollywood social scene after being “…brutally rebuffed by the most influential dudes in Lost Angeles,” forcing them to go on an adventure to the Moon and beyond to reclaim their community.
Author and artist Sina Grace is a living example of the queer creative community lifting each other up, using Rockstar & Softboy Go To Space to highlight the amazing comic work of his close friend Josh Trujillo (Blue Beetle: Graduation Day, Hulkling & Wiccan), making Softboy and Rockstar’s quest to maintain their community all the more meaningful and genuine. The world Grace has built in Rockstar & Softboy Go To Space is filled with important and necessary diversity – naturally woven into the characters and environment of the tale – from race to gender identity to body size, making the comic a beautifully inclusive story.
As always, Grace’s art is dynamic, colorful, and full of adorable and naughty details that make reading every page of this comic a true blast. Seeing as Grace is both the writer and the artist – with really lovely lettering by Rus Wooton – there is a certain synergy to the comic that can be rare to find in the medium, with all the characters expressions, actions, and the environments seeming to fit perfectly with the writing and the intention of the scene.
Plus, Grace’s hilarious writing is greatly enhanced by the art, with his brilliant and thinly-veiled analogue to Lady Gaga making this reader literally guffaw out loud, and also eliciting a nerdy giggle when a “bad guy” is refered to as if “…Sephiroth had a baby with Bayonetta’s hotter sister!” The pop culture references in Rockstar & Softboy Go To Space seemingly never end, and yet never get tiring, with the two protagonists going through an epic Magical Girl Transformation like they did in Grace’s original Rockstar & Softboy, and the inclusion of hilarious references to Josie & the Pussycats, Invincible, and Studio Ghibli.
On a more serious note, Sina Grace’s “note from the author” after the conclusion of the main story in Rockstar & Softboy Go To Space gives important context to the story, informing the reader that much of the community-based storytelling seen in the comic was motivated by the tragic mass shooting at queer nightclub The Club Q in Colorado Springs on November 19th, 2022. Along with the recent slew of anti-trans bills and policies being enacted across the country, and loving queer spaces like Drag Queen Story Hours being attacked, Grace was inspired to write a powerful story about queer friendship and the strength of community, showing that, “coming together in a safe place and connecting in person remains an unmatched experience.” Ending his emotional and poignant note, Grace reflects that, “I understand now that as much as this book is about these two best friends, it has to be about the spaces that help those bonds flourish,” a message that can be seen clearly in every page and piece of dialogue spoken in Rockstar & Softboy Go To Space.
It is almost impossible to find anything negative about Rockstar & Softboy Go To Space, which is simply a joy to read and an emotionally impactful story to reflect on and sit with, with the only major complaints from this reader being that the comic was simply not as long as he would have liked, and did not feature the brilliant Miaow Miaow nearly enough. Honestly, Softboy and Rockstar’s adventure into space could have gone on for 50 more pages, and hopefully Sina Grace’s next volume of Rockstar & Softboy is massive. Grace’s ability to quickly make his side characters standouts, like the iconic Sorcerer Stu, is never more evident than in his creation of Miaow Miaow, first introduced in Rockstar & Softboy, a “700-year-old mythical creature hybrid” who likes Valium a little too much. Luckily for readers of Rockstar & Softboy Go To Space, the trade paperback includes a hilarious backup story detailing Miaow Miaow’s origins, giving fascinating context to the hilarious character.
Sina Grace’s Rockstar & Softboy Go To Space is a meaningful and masterful love letter to the queer community, with gorgeous art, hilarious jokes and references, and a foundational friendship that grounds the magical, sci-fi adventure in a powerful way. This comic is a uniquely intimate glimpse into the mind of an acclaimed queer writer and artist, a story that so clearly started as a passion project for friends that has morphed into a world that can be beloved by all. Anyone who even thinks they might enjoy this brilliant romp through the beauty of platonic queer friendship and the power of community assuredly will enjoy it, and this reader is hopeful that this is far from the last Rockstar & Softboy adventure that the world will see.
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