Akiko on the Planet Smoo

  I guess there may be hope for the comics industry, after all.

OK, that’s a bit harsh toward the rest of the industry, but with publishers focusing so much on castrated steroidal men wearing tights, and anorexic breast-augmented women wearing as little as possible, selling them to a smaller and smaller group of hormonal teenage fanboys, I get a bit cynical.

Akiko On The Planet Smoo is one delightful book that bucks that trend.

The story is narrated by Akiko, a 4th-grade(!) girl(!!!). She explains how a couple of guys in a space ship (I call them Jeff and Akbar) came to take her to the planet Smoo, leaving a robot replica behind to take her geography test for her while she’s gone. When they get to Smoo, the eccentric King Froptoppit asks her to help find his son the Prince. She’s joined by a small cast of colorful characters, including Poog (a floating blob with eyes), Mr Beeba (a nervous scholar), Spuckler Boach (a seasoned roustabout), and Gax (a dilapidated robot). As you might guess, they go off on an Great Adventure, meet more strange beings, and Akiko proves herself as a hero.

My boyfriend says it reads like children’s literature (by which he means the stuff that his mother the elementary school librarian specialises in) and the art reminds him of various kid-lit illustrators. That’s high praise from him, by the way. Last month I struggled to find some good comics to give my niece for christmas. I guess I’ll have to save this one for her birthday.

It’s a little surprising to see this coming from Sirius, whose most prominent characters are Joe Linsner’s “f— me” Dawn, and Drew Hayes’ “f— you” Lusipher. (I’m not condemning either - they both have merit - but they make strange bedfell… er, companions for Akiko.) But in a world where Image can publish A Distant Soil and Bone, I guess anything’s possible.

Anyway, it appears that Akiko On The Planet Smoo was published as the pilot for an ongoing series. And it looks like the pilot flew well enough, because this month’s Previews solicits the first issue of a new series, simply called Akiko. (In contrast to my usual preferences, I like the longer name better; Akiko by itself is too non-nondescript, and sounds like some translated manga series that might get stuck in limbo whilst waiting for Marvel to finish publishing it. {wry grin})

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