The Subspace Chatter #3 Kickstarter is now live, and ends June 24, 2021.
The Comicverse is a sci-fi comedy about a comic book shop on a space station written by Bianca Alu-Marr and illustrated by Steve Peters for the past 10 years. Comicverse: Subspace Chatter is a spinoff series in which the Comicverse characters do a space podcast about comics, sci fi, and nerd culture.
In the latest issue of Comicverse: Subspace Chatter, The space station has been put under lockdown due to an alien virus making the usually jovial and friendly aliens, the Varials, paranoid and hostile. The germ of the idea for the issue came during our own global pandemic. Artist Steve was listening to NPR and heard that it was important for us to write accounts of our experiences of quarantine for future generations to know what it was like. Steve felt that artists especially need to capture the essence of what it’s like, as this is a singular moment in history—we’ve never had a pandemic happen with the technology we currently have at our disposal.
In the comic, Rei, Ying the dragon, and friends come up with creative ways to pass the time through their spacecast, Subspace Chatter, which they are recording from their apartment instead of at The Comicverse, which is closed due to the quarantine.
Bianca, being a Star Trek fan (Next Gen and DS9 are her favorites), offered the idea of a spacecast about the viruses of Star Trek, which was dubbed “Trek Goes Viral”. She was curious to go back and see how the show handled outbreaks amongst the crew and other alien species. What she didn’t realize is that there would be so very many viruses to choose from between Star Trek the Animated Series, TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT! It was very labor intensive to comb through each of the episodes, summarize them and pick out some interesting points of interest from the episodes to discuss. Steve helped with some of that too when Bianca came down with virus episode fatigue! But in the end it was well worth it, as Steve drew some detailed, crosshatched illustrations of some of the episodes, along with other depictions by Max Ink, Corey Bechelli, Anthony Casperite, Flor de Canela, Lee Thacker, and Dre Grigoropol.
“Sig City Social Club” is inspired by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine actor Alexander Siddig’s Sid City Social Club, a twice-weekly Zoom meeting in which Sid talks to his fans one on one. The show was created during the quarantine specifically to give fans the chance to reach out to one another, and to give people something to do! Artist Steve was a guest on the show (you can watch it here; Steve is the first guest), and Steve and Bianca got such a kick out of it that they fictionalized it, having Rei go on the Lekru (a species of Comicverse alien) version of Siddig’s show.
Finally, “Sin Kevitch Challenge” is inspired by the Bill Sienkiewicz challenge (check it out here). For laughs, Sienkiewicz posted an old reference photo of himself he had come across in which he’s in the buff and pointing a gun, with a black box strategically covering his posterior. The internet went wild with the image, as hundreds of artists began to using pose as reference and posting the results. As with “Sig City”, “Sin Kevitch” is the Lekru version of the famous comic book artist. Of the three stories in the book, this one is the most loosely related to the real-life quarantine—it happened during that time, and perhaps many of the artists who contributed did so because they found themselves with lots of extra time on their hands.
For “Sin Kevitch”, Steve drew a number of versions and got friends to draw some as well. Guest participants in the challenge were James Windsor-Smith, Lee Thacker, David Branstetter, Michael Anthony Carroll, Anthony Casperite, Matt Dow, and Corey Bechelli. Steve did drawings in the styles of other artists like Michael Golden, Shannon Wheeler, Brian Payne, Dave Sim, Jim Woodring, and Moebius.
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