Publisher: BG Comics
Writer: Taylor King
Artist: Tom Hoskisson
Colours: Jimmy G
Letterer: Matt Krotzer
Release Date: February 2021
Touted as “Pineapple Express meets Alien”, Gl’urk & Bo is a sci-fi/horror/comedy series set 2000 years in the future. This first issue introduces us to our titular heroes, two deep space truckers hauling mineral ore across the galaxy in an almost perpetual cloud of “Greebley’s… It’s the good shit”. When their cryo-sleep is unexpectedly interrupted, they soon discover that things are getting weird (even for deep space) and that a strange and horrific presence has infested the ship.
I had a lot of fun with this issue. It certainly lives up to itse “Pineapple Express meets Alien” pitch, particularly in the design work, but there are also some nice references to the likes of Event Horizon, Galaxy of Terror, and Total Recall to sink your teeth into.
As first issues go, a lot happens. There’s no gradual build-up of terror like there is in Alien, shit gets weird by about page four, and goes increasingly off the rails all the way to the final page. I like Gl’urk and Bo, they’re just the right side of screw-up without being obnoxious about it, and they’re easy to like. We don’t get to know a lot about either character’s back story in this issue, but there’s a great scene from Gl’urk’s childhood memory which turns from idyllic to mind numbingly horrific in very short order. As I said, this is quite a fast paced first issue, but the pacing does allow for a couple of good tension building moments, with some decent chills that very much put this back into the “Alien” territory of space horror.
As a side note, I took the time to read the “letters to the editor” page in this issue, and I’d strongly advise that if you don’t want the story spoiled that you avoid it like the plague, as there is a pretty definitive explanation of what the entity haunting the ship is and what it is after. I like to be kept guessing as to what is going on, what the motivations and nature of the antagonist is for as long as possible and I felt a little cheated that it was laid out for me in a couple of short paragraphs. I will say though, that it’s well worth reading the character bio section at the end of the issue as it fills in some much-needed backstory for Gl’urk and Bo and also the timeline they live in.
The artwork is way better in this issue than you’ve any right to expect. There’s pretty much nothing that I can fault. Okay, there are maybe two panels where Bo’s face goes a little out of perspective, but when you weigh that up against how good the rest of the issue is, that’s being hyper-critical. They say the devil is in the detail, and despite this being a relatively cartoony style, there are some superb details. Obviously what I’m really interested in is the scary bits, horror is my thing after all, and there are some really, really good horror moments in the artwork in this issue. I am not going to spoil it for you but there is a detail on page six that actually made me jump. I missed it on the first read through, it is quite a small detail, and then second time, I caught it and it riveted me.
There are also some more overtly horrific moments, the “Angel of Death” for example is somewhere between the Grim Reaper and Carnage, and as a writhing, shifting monster to chill your bones, it’s a really great piece of character design. The aforementioned homage to Total Recall is suitably over-the-top, but still manages to look less ridiculous than the special effects of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Martian death dream sequence, and a monstrous, demonic Clint Eastwood gives the impression that all may not be as it seems on the ship.
I even liked the advertising posters spread throughout the issue. There’s only a few, and unlike where I’ve seen this used in other titles previously, they don’t really come across as extraneous or filler, they’re all relevant to the story, and they’re actually really well done.
I missed the Kickstarter for the first issue of this series which ended in December, and I’m absolutely kicking myself that I did not know about this sooner. HOWEVER, there is a Kickstarter for issue two planned in February of 2021 which hopefully will give the opportunity to catch up with the physical media, and you can bet that I will be all over it.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek