Sunday, June 22, 2014

Be A Clown: SPACE CIRCUS from Viper Comics

So you’re a four-armed space alien with a talent for juggling and making people laugh.  What is your obvious carreer choice?  Why, join the Army, of course!  At least that’s what Cosmo Niditch’s father thinks.  Cosmo comes from a long line of famous generals and military heroes, and his dad wants him to follow in the family tradition.  But Cosmo has other ideas; he wants to join the circus and be a clown.

Viper Comics’s graphic novel SPACE CIRCUS tells the story of young Cosmo’s adventures as he runs away to join an interplanetary circus.  At first he isn’t taken seriously as a clown; he’s given a job washing dishes in the circus’s kitchen.  But he soon finds an opportunity to prove himself.  The circus is facing some hard times, and the owner is considering closing it down, unless he can find a really big act to pull in the crowds; an act like the legendary Flying Berrendo Brothers, a troupe of acrobatic clowns from a distant planet called Earth.

Cosmo resolves to find the Berrendo Brothers, and so accompanied by his friend Rollo he travels to Earth .  There he meets new friends, like the boastful dwarf  Moe, and picks up a couple of enemies in the form of two obsessive government agents looking for illegal aliens.

Can Cosmo find the Berrendos, save his friends and the circus?  Let me tell you, it will take a lot of juggling.

The story is light and funny and the artwork by Ivan Escalante is wacky and appealing..  It’s drawn in a bigfoot style that lends itself well to slapstick.  The writing by Eric Hutchins and Matt Anderson, based on a story by Richard Rothstein and Stanley Resnicoff, is a little uneven.  Some of the plot developments and trasistions between scenes are a bit abrupt; and   I could see this as an animated movie..  I would have liked to see more involvement by the trapeze artist Ariel, who here comes off as little more than a plot device.The credits say that this comic was based on a screenplay, and it could be that these flaws are the result of a larger story being condensed into a graphic novel.  Still, there are some funny bits in the comic, such as the visit to the Clown School in Florida, or the climactic battle at Area 57 between the Men in Black and Cosmo’s circus friends.

And yes, at it’s core, this is a story about Following Your Dreams.  Which is not a bad thing.

SPACE CIRCUS is available from Viper Comics

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