Editor’s Note: I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher.
Once again Alterna delivers a unique and original story, this time from writer Dave Swartz and artist Joseph Cooper. Feast or Famine feels like something right out of the Burroughs/Howard era of pulp adventure and old-world science fiction. It is set in an alternate history where inventory Nicholas Teska discovers a mysterious radio signal from space and, with the help of Dr. Albalien Stein, sets out to discover its origin.
The story takes place on an alternate Earth, during the 1800s when science is on the cusp of changing the world by leaps and bounds. The recording phonograph, harnessed electricity, and the ability to receive radio signals from space have all recently invented in this world. People are amazed by discoveries they can’t even imagine, and things we take for granted today. The book reads like something Burroughs would have written if he’d done comics. After his competition dies in a horrible accident Teska is offered funding by a seemingly altruistic investor who supports the inventor’s plan to discover the origin and nature of a mysterious radio signal from space. The scientists invent a means to transport a data gathering device across the galaxy to collect information on the source of the signal. Unsatisfied with the results Teska decides they must find a way to go themselves.
Cooper’s art is wonderful throughout the book. His line work is just clean, easy to follow, and works well with the story. Cooper’s experience comes through in the uncluttered panels. He does a great job capturing the feel and style of the setting. I’m reminded of films like The Time Machine (the original, you chuckleheads) as I flip through the pages. I find little details in the backgrounds each time I go back to a panel to look closer. Cooper truly brings that feel of the classic science adventure stories to life in the pages of this book.
So far I’d say the book is well worth picking up. I enjoyed reading the first issue, and I’ll likely be getting the rest to see what happens. The hook is set and I need to know what lies beyond that veil of discovery for Teska and Stein. Ask for it at your local comic shot or on Alterna.com.