While New York ComicCon is almost big beyond imagining (think Tokyo at rush hour) careful pacing and looking in each isle will yield many interesting finds. One of them was Tim Lattie’s Night Stars. Tim explained the concept of the comic as time travel meets Roswell, with encounters with Men in Black and cold war paranoia. All told with a YA angle. At his suggestion I went to Comixology and picked up the first two issues for 99¢ each.
Tim is both the writer and the artist. He tells the story cleanly and without a need for excess words. He knows when to use just pictures and knows when to combine the two. The pacing of the comic is brisk and it comes as a letdown when it’s over.
For the most part, Tim’s been doing most of his work over at IDW, and when he decided to put out Night Stars, he self-published using Kickstarter.
The comic, as Tim explains on his Kickstarter page is about: “Adam, John, and Leslie [who] were just normal kids gearing up for winter vacation when a poorly officiated government leads us to nuclear holocaust. All of humanity is lost in one day, except for 3. Swept away on a flying saucer, they escape annihilation only to find themselves 66 years in the past in ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO!” https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/916456504/night-stars-staring-at-the-world-through-my-rearvi
Tim starts the story slowly, giving us a view of Adam, John and Leslie’s world. As a boomer, I am a child of the cold war, and have strong memories of the fear of nuclear holocaust which walked with us daily. The infamous anti-Goldwater “Daisy” commercial literally gave me nightmares for two decades. Tim does an incredible job recreating that cold war feeling in his opening pages. As the world spirals out of control the children try to grasp onto normality. As the tension escalates and the war starts, Adam, John and Leslie, catch a glimpse of an oddly dress person in the rear of the house in the woods. Leslie races after, with the boys beyond. They come upon a saucer shaped ship and it ends up flying away with them as their city goes up in a nuclear fire. Issue two starts with them landing in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. Though they don’t know it, they have traveled in time.
So far, the first two issues are enjoyable. Sure, Tim is traveling over familiar ground, even the crew from Futurama went back in time to Roswell. But, he manages to capture both the YA vibe, in a positive way, and the cold war paranoia. Children in YA stories often are whiney, obnoxious or know it alls. Tim tries to avoid these clichés. Adam, an only child comes from an intact family. He’s a sensitive boy who is clearly distressed by his parents’ anxiety over the coming war. John and Leslie are being raised by their father, as their mother died. The father is doing the best he can, but feels overwhelmed by the daughter who so resembles his dead wife. John as the older brother feels responsible for her and his younger friend Adam.
Where issue #1 is the preliminary setup, #2 is where the story really starts to take shape. Since this is a Roswell story, expect the military, men in black, German space scientists and a fear of little green men. Since Tim told me that there are twists on the way, I’ll take him at his word and wait to see how this pans out. It’s a good brisk read, and at 99¢ well worth the risk.