runners-spread

Thanks to that storm, I did have time to get to my intended project before it got too cold to stay here. The power is back but the time trying to get caught up on stuff means I didn’t have time to write a new article, so you’ll see it next week. In its place I’m posting another of my “Scanning My Collection” articles from the Spotlight, this one based on an independent published and web comic you should all check out. (Actually, I was trying to get this together knowing the power would probably get knocked out, just not for four days, and the power did indeed get knocked out…just before I could hit “schedule”.)

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When I went to my first ConnectiCon even in 2009, I found the Runners comic by The Tick and Arthur scribe Sean Wang, who actually appeared there. While he had a collected graphic novel, the 5 floppies were cheaper and I prefer that format, so I picked up all five issues, and it’s a story I want to encourage others to grab.

Runners #1-5 “Bad Goods”

STORY/ART: Sean Wang

PUBLISHER: Serve Man Press (January 2003-April 2005)

Synopsis:

“Between the pockets of unified space and allied systems lie the open expanses collectively known as Roguespace. Unpatrolled by interplanetary authorities, these wild frontier sectors are home to all those who exist outside the system and operate outside the law…”

–opening to each issue of Runners: Bad Goods

runners-group

Not pictured: New girl "Sky"

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The good ship Khoruysa Brimia

“Runners” is the name given to smugglers who operate in Roguespace, and this series follows the adventures of the crew of the Khoruysa Brimia, a group of Runners currently hired to transport goods for Dhama Tylo, who I think is some kind of space mobster. Unfortunately for our heroes, the ship they’re supposed to be getting the goods from is attacked by pirates. The Runners chase them off, and find a blue-skinned girl from a race they can’t identify as the only survivor. Worse yet, she has amnesia.

Roka Nostaco, the commander and ship owner, decides to take the other ship (the same model as his) to use for spare parts, but the old base he uses isn’t abandoned. He finds a former member who was left behind when the cops arrived. She claims to not be bitter, but warns the crew that now they have a huge bounty on their heads because of the mysterious cargo, and everybody’s looking to collect.

Later, after someone tries to collect the bounty, the ship is forced to travel to an Allied space station for repairs. A comedy of errors follows, the girl is given the name “Sky” (as well as proving to have other mysteries), and everyone scrambles to escape the pirates and the police. So what’s the cargo? You’ll have to read it to find out, since it is being published online, with the next arc already completed (set to be released only in graphic novel form).

Analysis:

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"Say hello to my lit...nah, been done!"

Wang creates a fun, deep group of characters. Roka tries to bury his conscience in order to continue his “business”, but he’s a decent guy deep down. Ril Mar, his secondary, has less of a conscience, but isn’t necessarily a bad person. Bocce is the only human aboard, with one arm that resembles Gloop and Gleep from The Herculoids. He sometimes questions their working for Tylo, and is the one who names “Sky”. He hopes to help her find out who she is and where she’s from. Bennesaud is a rock person, and the team’s muscle. My favorite of the group has to be the dopey, fun Cember Kogi, the groups gunner and very good with a laser. (With all those eyes, he should be.) Also, he has a neat hat.

“Bad Goods” is the first story arc, meant mostly to introduce the universe. According to comments in the afterwords of the comics, Wang plans a much larger universe and storyline, with the Runners caught up in events. They are our gate way into the series, but they work as their own characters, so I really hope they take center stage.

As I write this, Wang has finished the second arc, “The Big Snow Job”, which is in full color. We’re currently awaiting the third arc. You can also order the comics through his online store, although he does encourage going through Diamond to drive business to the comic store. However you get it (as long as it’s legal and moral), you really should pick it up if you’re a science-fiction fan who loves fun, action packed stories.

(To read this comic for yourself, check out Runners Universe.com)

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