Hi gang! Sorry David and I have been M.I.A. (not the rapper), but things were crazy busy over the holidays. Besides, we wanted to pick up a few new comics to share with you as we’d pretty much exhausted our stable of webcomics over the last year. So with our favorite tunes blasting, we set to work!
One of the awesome new comics I have recently gotten into is a nifty little sci-fi gem called Drive. Penned by Dave Kellett (of Sheldon notoriety) is a good example of a webcomic with vision: it is clear that Kellett has planned out an overall story arc for the project and, apart from some details and minor diversions along the way, is going to stick to it. Unlike most webcomics, which seem to be made up on the fly (a technique that sometimes works and sometimes fails miserably), Drive definitely has a story to tell and I, for one, am excited to hear it.
The world of Drive is one where a Second Spanish empire has risen, only this one has conquered space via technology called “pinch-drive” where space/time is looped. or “pinched” in order to make travel over huge distances actually viable. This technology was found by a luck Spaniard some decades before, and his family would go on to become the rulers of this new empire, which would expand to other worlds and encapsulate many alien races. Only one problem: the “pinch-drive” technology was taken from a race of creatures called “The Continuum of Makers”. Of course, the Makers want to eliminate the human race and take the technology back, and they vastly outnumber forces of the Empire. Humanity is in desperate need of a secret weapon. And a small ship rescuing its crew member from a prison moon just might have found it…
While in prison for regicide (he didn’t do it) a Veetan science officer named Nosh (who has a ridiculously funny Russian accent from when he got stuck in Moscow for several years) makes friends with a small, lizard-like alien who has no memory of who he is or where he comes from. This little alien (later named “Skitter”) is swept up as the crew of the Machito comes to rescue their beloved Nosh. When he shows an unusual skill for piloting a spacecraft (based on his ability to “see” gravity via the mohawk-like appendage on his head), Skitter is made pilot and the Machito is able to reduce its chances of striking debris in space. But this development does not go unnoticed, as the new emperor (who really DID commit regicide to gain the throne) charges the crew of the Machito with discovering Skitter’s origins and hopefully finding his kin so that they may gain the upper hand in their war against the Makers.
I’ve tried several times to get into Sheldon, Kellett’s other (and far better known) comic, but the humor in it just never hooked me: too many eye-roll-worthy puns and gags. To be sure, there is some of that in Drive, but I have to say that his comedic sense of timing is much more refined, and the characters are well-rounded and their interactions are genuine and genuinely amusing. Kellett is able to spin together multiple storylines and create interesting supporting documents (like official government transcripts and personal letters) that further develop the world of the comic. Speaking of which, the ideas, themes, and environments presented in Drive are fantastic and make the universe feel very broad. Art-wise, Drive is certainly not the most beautiful comic ever, but it is far from the worst, and Kellett’s creature/ship design is second-to-none. My one criticism is that, since the comic only updates once per week, I feel that the story is very slow. But perhaps that is just because I am so anxious to read more!
In summation, Drive is definitely worth a look for its original ideas, well-imagined characters, and broad story world. Check it out today!