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  Akiko on the Planet Smoo (Sirius)
by Mark Crilley
Rating: magic, Content: [humour] [sci-fi] [all ages]

 I guess there may be hope for the comics industry, after all.

 OK, that's a bit harsh toward the rest of the industry, but with publishers focusing so much on castrated steroidal men wearing tights, and anorexic breast-augmented women wearing as little as possible, selling them to a smaller and smaller group of hormonal teenage fanboys, I get a bit cynical.

 Akiko On The Planet Smoo is one delightful book that bucks that trend.

 The story is narrated by Akiko, a 4th-grade(!) girl(!!!). She explains how a couple of guys in a space ship (I call them Jeff and Akbar {grin} came to take her to the planet Smoo, leaving a robot replica behind to take her geography test for her while she's gone. When they get to Smoo, the eccentric King Froptoppit asks her to help find his son the Prince. She's joined by a small cast of colorful characters, including Poog (a floating blob with eyes), Mr Beeba (a nervous scholar), Spuckler Boach (a seasoned roustabout), and Gax (a dilapidated robot). As you might guess, they go off on an Great Adventure, meet more strange beings, and Akiko proves herself as a hero.

 My boyfriend says it reads like children's literature (by which he means the stuff that his mother the elementary school librarian specialises in) and the art reminds him of various kid-lit illustrators. That's high praise from him, by the way. Last month I struggled to find some good comics to give my niece for christmas. I guess I'll have to save this one for her birthday.

 It's a little surprising to see this coming from Sirius, whose most prominent characters are Joe Linsner's "f--- me" Dawn, and Drew Hayes' "f--- you" Lusipher. (I'm not condemning either - they both have merit - but they make strange bedfell... er, companions for Akiko.) But in a world where Image can publish A Distant Soil and Bone, I guess anything's possible.

 Anyway, it appears that Akiko On The Planet Smoo was published as the pilot for an ongoing series. And it looks like the pilot flew well enough, because this month's Previews solicits the first issue of a new series, simply called Akiko. (In contrast to my usual preferences, I like the longer name better; Akiko by itself is too non-nondescript, and sounds like some translated manga series that might get stuck in limbo whilst waiting for Marvel to finish publishing it. {wry grin})

 This is one for the Friends of Lulu to take note of. (Akiko herself even looks a wee bit like an updated version of ol' Lu.) Or anyone who enjoys good, fun comics that a kid could love.

Visit the unofficial Akiko site.
Visit the official Akiko site.

Barnes & Noble GET IT: The Akiko comicbooks and graphic novels are available through most comics shops (call 1-888-COMIC-BOOK or check your local yellow pages to find one) and many mainstream bookstores. The novels are avilable in bookstores. Or you can order them online from Barnes & Noble here (and help support this site through the small commission we get on each sale): The Menace of Alia Rellapor, Books One, Two, and Three, The Story Tree (Book Four), Akiko on the Planet Smoo (novel), Akiko on the Sprubly Islands (novel),

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