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|Strange Attractors is our postmodern take on adventure and romance comics, an attempt to meld genres, to fold, spindle, and warp the semiotics and sensibilites of Silver Age comics to our own idiosyncratic purposes.
Strange Attractors pays tribute to the comics of the Fifties and Sixties and reflects the ways our consciousnesses, our sensibilities have been shaped by one too many viewings of Forbidden Planet, by lengthy exposure to the artistry of Jack Kirby and Steranko, and having been dipped in the ambiance of the Sixties, Timothy Leary, Equal Rights Feminism, Norman Spinrad, Robert Heinlein, Camille Paglia, Robert Anton Wilson, Samuel R. Delany, H.P. Lovecraft, Dave Sim, Alan Moore, and the media-scape of the early '90s.
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From the Introduction to the first Strange Attractors collection "Chaos Jitterbug"
by science fiction legend Norman Spinrad
STRANGE ATTRACTORS is the only serial comic I've followed in a long time, and even my wife, who hardly reads comics at all, reads each issue as soon as it comes in. I don't usually like books, films, comics, or tv shows that continue on from episode to episode, and STRANGE ATTRACTORS is one of the rare exceptions, in part, I think, because it is that even greater rarity, a character-centered comic.
Yes, the story is complicated, yes there are wheels within wheels within wheels, but for me, anyway, it is the characters that carry me along from episode to episode. If I had the discipline--which I don't--and knew how long the series was going to run--which the creators don't seem to--I'd prefer to save all the issues that come in to read all at once like a novel.
Because ordinarily one of my problems with series, and especially with series with so much background and so many story complications like STRANGE ATTRACTORS, is that I tend to lose track of what's been going on from issue to issue. Not so with STRANGE ATTRACTORS; somehow, because the characters are so real, so central to the whole story, and because Sophie herself is so bound up with her memories, real and synthetic, even after a long absense, I'm back in the world and the story with my memories of it intact after a few pages of each issue. Interestingly enough, the summaries inside
the front cover have gotten shorter and shorter issue by issue, as if the creators have become cognizant of and confident in this effect. Another appeal of STRANGE ATTRACTORS for me is that it is maybe the most novelistic graphic story I know of with the possible exception of WATCHMEN and certainly the most novelistic series. It has novelistic structure, no mean feat for a series of any kind. It has main characters and secondary characters. It has real emotional interest. Moral dilemmas.
It is also a good piece of science fiction. The worlds of STRANGE ATTRACTORS are colorful and detailed but also quite believable. The self-referential business with Pirate Peg the character in STRANGE ATTRACTORS and Pirate Peg the character in a comic book in the universe of STRANGE ATTRACTORS gives it all a Dickian depth of multiplex realities interacting.
The clean, clear, cinematic style of the black-and-white artwork works very well with a background and story of this complexity, reminiscent, somehow of the old black-and-white newspaper adventure strips like TERRY AND THE PIRATES, and STEVE CANYON.
And finally, I should point out something that is too often overlooked except in the breach, namely that this is a very well lettered comic. The lettering is clear, the right size, and easy to read, slipping into your mind from the page as if it were a film sound track. When so much lettering isn't, attention should be called to lettering like this which so fortunately does not call attention to itself. STRANGE ATTRACTORS is that true rarity, an adult, amusing, multi-layered, graphic science fiction novel. I look forward to its eventual successful completion with decidedly mixed emotions.