Writer: Delilah S. Dawson
Artist: Francesco Gaston
Colorist: Sebastian Cheng
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Cover Artist: Sara Richard
Publisher: IDW Publishing
You’ve heard of Star-Lord, now be prepared to meet Star Pig in IDW’s new science-fiction fantasy from writer Delilah S. Dawson and artist Francesco Gaston.
In the first issue of this four-part limited series, Star Pig #1 gets right to the action within a few short pages, as our protagonist Vess is immediately swallowed up into outer space when her shuttle crashes. But instead of dying like everybody else aboard, something weirder happens — she’s swallowed and kept alive by a giant tardigrade. And then from there, it gets even more weird.
In a way, Star Pig is a classic culture-clash comedy, with the Earthbound human Vess brushing up against the titular tardigrade’s lack of knowledge about humanity (e.g. what a panic attack is) and then another alien (introduced later) who knows a lot about a few specific Earth things, but nothing else. Because of its mid-21st century setting, Dawson gets to poke fun at the idea of nostalgia from characters who have never experienced any of the things referenced firsthand (e.g. there’s a “Greased Lighting” nod I found jarring at first considering the setting, but it later made complete sense when I learned the context of it).
Dawson’s script is playful on its own, but Gaston and colorist Sebastian Cheng definitely accentuate it with colorful, whimsical visuals. Tardigrades are already cute to look at, but its their rendering of Star Pig that makes him look especially cuddly, depicted in a welcoming shade of pink that almost gives the impression of a huge, floating wad of chewed gum in some spots. I also love the general art direction of the book and cover (by Sara Richard), which is very 80s/90s Lisa Frank, Trapper Keeper-esque. It gives you a sense of the tone the creative team is trying to achieve, and I think it meets it rather successfully.