Aug 1, 2016

Kaptara: Will and Grace in Space

I heard that Chip Zdarsky, who wrote the "Jughead" reboot for Archie comics with Jughead as asexual, was doing a new graphic novel series, Kaptara, about a gay space hero, so I bought the first volume.

Expecting a gay action hero cruising through the galaxy.

Instead I got Will and Grace in space.

Keith (left) is a thin, fashion-obsessed, sex-obsessed, limp-wristed, sarcastic queen, the bitchy best friend of a hundred straight women in "chick flick" comedies who somehow got selected for a mission to Mars.

He's also lazy and a major coward.

His ship goes through a space warp.  Separated from the rest of the crew, he ends up in the faux-Medieval kingdom of Endom on the planet Kaptara, where all the men dress like Conan the Barbarian and don't mind being drooled over by screaming queens.

Naturally, Keith doesn't want to leave, but there's a problem: the evil Skullthor plans to use the space warp to travel to Earth and conquer it.  The queen's son Manton, who Keith has a crush on, and Danton, an effeminate muscleman, are going to try to capture Skullthor.  Keith opts out - he doesn't care about anybody back home, so why should he help?  But after looking at a mysterious photo of a heterosexual nuclear family, he decides to join the expedition.

En route they join forces with She-La, famed tracker and hunter; Melvon the Wizard, who lives in the Unchanted Forest; and Laurette from the original crew, who has become an insect-person.

They never get around to finding Skullthor, at least not in the first volume, but they have lots of picaresque adventures on the strange alien planet.

As you can tell, it's rather tongue-in-cheek, parodying The Lord of the Rings and Masters of the Universe far more than science fiction stories. The visuals are creative.  And everyone on Kaptara being nonchalant about gay people is a step forward.

But I would prefer a gay hero who isn't a throwback to the screaming queens of yesteryear.

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