Some Reviews of SPACE BABE 113

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A while ago, the Comics Creators Guild website featured some reviews of the early issues of Space Babe 113.
As these are no-longer online, I have rescued them from oblivion and here they are...

You can read loads more of Win's insightful, knowledgable and entertaining reviews at Now Read This, his excellent graphic novel review site.


The original cover of episode 1
SPACE BABE 113 episode one: Briefs, reviewed by Win

I have to declare an interest before I review these comics. John Maybury, as well as a fellow CCG member, and my editor on the Guildís Annual, is one of many people I have taught in more than twenty-five years as a tutor of comic skills at various organisations ranging from the London College of Printing, through the London Cartoon Centre to the Cartoon Art Trust. I think itís only fair to state, however, looking at how few of those hundreds, if not thousands, of students have gone on to produce outstanding comic work, that weíd be deluding ourselves by assuming I had any effect whatsoever!

Confession over, and so to work.

Space Babe 113 is a remarkable and highly addictive piece of comedy science fiction from a creator not content to simply relate tales, but to constantly challenge himself in the process. With overtones of Barbarella (Jean Claude Forestís comic more than the Jane Fonda movie version), the Ballad of Halo Jones, Little Annie Fanny and a dozen other things I could cite to show off, this is the tale of a sexy ingénue on a commercial mission to the stars with a disparate crew of misfits on the claustrophobic and muddled trading ship 'Marco Polo'.

Although nominally the shipís Catering Officer, she always seems to be getting the wackiest jobs - such as testing the fetishistic 'Off World Battle Garb' - on the long voyage to their rendezvous with potential trading partners the Lirka. Not long into their five year mission a crisis occurs when cosmic rays mutate the female crew-members knickers and only the greatest efforts of human ingenuity can save the day.

There is a long tradition of sexy space women in comics, films, TV and even novels - although the last does demand the exercise of some imagination - and this gently saucy, racy tale ranks among the highest in that arena. The humour is both broad and gentle, with more of the 'Carry On' rather than 'Emmanuelle' about it, although the occasional subversive side-splitter sneaks in, and there are oodles of SF, comic book and computer in-jokes for those in the know.

Remember I said he liked to challenge himself? Although able to draw well in a variety of representational styles, John has 'sweetened the pot' by setting himself a daunting task. Space Babe 113 is a glamour book that has moved away from pseudo- or pneumatic realism in search of a reductionist abstraction that has echoes of Vaugh Bodé, Alex Nino and even graffiti street art. It is to his credit that his diligence has largely succeeded. She may just be large blobs of thick black and white, but she is certainly a tasty little minx. Regrettably, however, in a few places in the first issue the printing lets down the show, but generally the effect is marvellous, and if thereís a collected edition those slips can be rectified.
(NB: Win reviewed the first edition, I hope the second looks better... - JM)

Hip, sexy, surreal and engaging, Space Babe 113 is a real treat that deserves great success and broad acclaim.



The cover of episode 2
SPACE BABE 113 episode two: Lirka, reviewed by Win

On the good ship 'Marco Polo' the eclectic, erotic crew are preparing for their first trade conference with the asexual Aardvarks known as the Lirka. Tensions are high but at least they are confident that there will be no further assaults from their treacherous and homicidal underwear. Unbeknownst to most of the Terran delegation, their own chief negotiator - 'Star' - has been secretly instructed to use any means necessary to compel the Lirka to purchase human video Porn. She realises that in such an impossible situation she will need every possible advantage - she needs Space Babe 113.

Can two such widely differing species find some common ground to build upon? In the strangest manner imaginable the answer is categorically 'yes', but sometimes getting what you want isnít really a good thing, as can be seen when the conference devolves into a wild strip-poker party!

The second issue of John Mayburyís sugar-sweet space siren actually improves upon the first, and the smutty insanity builds to a splendid cliffhanger conclusion. And the 'less-is-more' art goes from strength to strength. One more thing I should stress: this is a sex comedy in space, no quibble there. But it is as much a science fiction strip as it is anything else. The concepts and technology are well-considered and have a sound quality of authenticity about them.

Well-rounded, captivating and impossible to put down. Buy it and decide if I mean her or it, why donít you?



The cover of episode 3
SPACE BABE 113 episode three: Foliage, reviewed by Win

Surviving the aftermath of the too-successful trade-conference with the androgynous, ant-eating Lirka, Space Babe 113 crashes her escape pod onto a desolate jungle world where she must eke out a lonely existence and pray for rescue. But is she alone?

Something on this lush planetoid is trying to communicate with her, and itís not just her talking underwear. Is she the last hope for a dying race to return from the very edge of extinction, or is it just that Earth Girls really are 'Easy'?

This is the raunchiest and funniest issue yet, but still manages to walk the right side of the line between charm and prurience, and best of all the original printing problems that weakened the impact of the beautifully abstracted artwork have been put to rest. This is lovely work. Buy it now and start a petition for the animated series.





The text of these reviews (c) 2007 Stephan F Wiacek and Winning Streak.