Written by Bianca Alu-Marr and illustrated by Steve Peters, The Comicverse is a sci-fi humor series about a comic book shop in a mall in a space space station that’s located between three mysterious wormholes, the properties of which have yet to be fully understood. Reiko Starr (A.K.A. Rei, pronounced “Ray”) is the proprietor and owner of the shop, and is assisted by his adopted comrade Ying, a fun loving Chinese dragon. Rei loves comics, and his store, The Comicverse, is known for being one of the only shops in the galaxy to import Earth comics. Rei is slightly cynical and gruff, and can get annoyed by his partner Ying’s mishaps and mischievousness, but is a very good hearted person underneath. The idea to make one of the main characters a Chinese dragon stemmed from Steve’s having learned to draw dragons for a project that didn’t come to fruition, and an effort make the project more appealing to Bianca, because he knew that Chinese dragons are one of Bianca’s favorite things of all time. Thus Ying was born. Eric is a Comicverse employee who is handy at fixing electronic problems and is consistently cheerful, as opposed to the more cynical and grumpy Rei. Smart Rack, the store’s resident A.I., instantly prints comics for customers, and holds a vast wealth of comics in its electronic brain. Smart Rack is exceedingly out of sorts most of the time, mainly due to his impatience with the fact that everyone else’s I.Q. pales in comparison. Aki is an exotically beautiful and deadly space pilot who is a tomboy at heart due to living with five brothers; she is a courier who ships or tows cargo for customers across the galaxy of the Comicverse. Rei is smitten with her, as is Ying, who is usually smitten by most attractive women.
The newly-released title, The Comicverse #1, features four self-contained short stories. The first story is an introduction to the characters and the space station the futuristic comic shop is in. Rei has that classic comic book argument with a customer: which two famous Earth comic book characters would win in a fight. Meanwhile, Ying dreams about rainbows that rain and fighting with fire. In a story collected from the weekly webcomic, Aki is introduced when she comes to the shop in the middle of a blackout caused by a solar storm, and Rei and Ying fall in love. A more surreal story follows Rei, Ying and Aki’s dreams, which all seem to be intertwined with one another due to interference by strange subatomic aliens. A final a story set at a robot convention in the space mall finds Rei and Ying are trying to drum up business for the shop, and things go awry when Ying decides to explore on his own and gets into a fight with a robot dragon over a beautiful woman.
The Comicverse is a fun romp that is filled with pop culture references to various sci-fi and comic book series.
The Comicverse #1, published by Awakening Comics, August 2011.
Black and white, 24 pages. $4.00