What Did I Learn?
Flight of the Binturong is a science fiction comic by Sal Crivelli, drawn by Nicolás R. Giacondino and colored by Pedro Figue (with Outland Entertainment.) The About page explains this more entertainingly, but there is no overarching evil empire in this space opera. Well, the overreaching authority exists but it gets in its own way (or it’s the Galactic version of Wal-Mart. Or both.) It’s not yet clear who has the upper hand but you can see all that clearly in just the first dozen updates.
Space ships break down sometimes and fixer ships like the Binturong get sent out to help. Well, they have been but they are becoming obsolete. Newer ships have self repair capabilities.
This puts the crew of the Binturong is up against a wall. Their big ticket to fame and fortune metaphorically blew up in their face and they basically had to take this job when Nav Corp and the Government offered. Make good on this job and there is a chance at a future. Of course, it’s not really as simple as it sounds on any side.
It’s a good sci-fi webcomic so far, with a little bit of drama and humor, some future technology elements and good inter-character dialog and action. As of update #27, there have only been a handful of characters introduced and the main characters are fleshed out nicely. They each have personality and some secrets that will come out more fully later.
A couple of things stand out about Flight of the Binturong… The tech is well illustrated; it’s a hard thing to do well. Part of the secret is the line quality and the color textures. Look at the first two panels here, for example. The first texture shows a vague, metallic wall appropriately receded into the background. The second shows the wall’s metallic sheen, which does a few things at once – separating it from the panels around it, setting a different emotional tone and acting as spot lighting. (See the shadowed area at the top of the second panel?) The line work is strong and lets everything work very well together. (Compare this with the style of superhero comics today in the bookstore; it’s mostly thin lines with Photoshopped effects.)
Another thing that stands out is how Sal (the comic’s creator) hints perfectly at things yet to be revealed but doesn’t reveal too much that anything is spoiled. If you read the comments beneath each comic or the various information pages, Sal offers tidbits that expand on what the comic itself posits. There are bits of exposition mentioned in the dialog and the writing is pretty tight, so not everything that could be revealed always does so – I would guess.
What Did I Learn?
It’s tempting to think that you can’t just have a standard science fiction setting for your comic because it won’t be interesting enough. It’s been done a million times. As it turns out, you can use that to your advantage as a shorthand. Of course, a whole universe gives a bit more variety than a standard apartment does for slice-of-life comics about college roommates but the concept holds. Take a look at Flight of the Binturong and let me know if you agree.