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July 31, 2012

Touring the Cosmos: Studio 407’s Fictionauts GN

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Written by: mike
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Nothing better than a good old pulpy sci-fi romp. Studio 407, with creative team Mauro Mantella on writing duties and Leandro Rizzo drawing, have released the Fictionauts GN on July 25. Starring a team of classic archetypes, the Fictionauts travel different fictional worlds righting wrongs and setting the universe straight.



Fictionauts GN

Writer: Mauro Mantella
Artist: Leandro Rizzo
Publisher: Studio 407
Release: 07/25/12

Fictionauts is a wacky ride right from the get-go. Set in a heavily soaked sci-fi universe, Fictionauts follows the exploits of an eclectic team of universe travelers trying to set right the wrongs of fictional universes, in order to keep a balance with reality and fiction. The team is comprised of archetypical members that blend well together. Dalan, the team leader whose bravery and cunning know no bounds. Zool, the team beauty and companion to Dalan. Professor Emerio Standford is the team scientist, full of mythological knowledge and philosophy. Lastly, there’s Jack, a ficto-sapien who managed to cross the border from fiction to reality. With a team like this, what crisis could possibly stand in their way?

When creating a comic in a genre that has existed for over 60 years, it can undeniably be hard to be original. You want to create something that stays within the confines of the genre, but manages to stay fresh, modern, and new for readers. Fictionauts pulls it off with flying colors. The premise of the team is simple yet creative. Part of a legacy of “Fictionauts,” the current incarnation of the team travels through different universes making adjustments to different myths, tales, fables, and general fiction. This creates an easy device to let your imagination run free. The team we follow is easy to relate to, because we have somewhat “seen them before.” This isn’t a bad thing, because it allows the tale to run its course rather than spend time giving unnecessary back stories. The story at times does feel a little hurried, but that may be due in part to the fact that there is so much to take in. Digesting everything you see and read is quite the (fun) task.

The whole universe that the Fictionauts tale takes place in is a tad daunting at first. There are some complex concepts to follow while reading through a rather speedy story. Luckily for readers, Mauro Mantella manages to explain anything that seems confusing just a moment later. Mantella has created a very diverse and unique universe. His offering of humor, action, and plot twists creates a rounded story that is easy to enjoy. As fun as the Fictionauts team is to follow, it is being able to immerse yourself in and explore their universe just like they are that makes this an entertaining read. Mantella makes you want to root for them and actually care for them. The villain was never obvious, and leaves the reader guessing just as much as Dalan and his cohorts. Throughout the art and writing, there is a lot of attention to detail. Characters have certain traits and different locales require special treatment. Mantella keeps all of the characters’ personalities intact throughout the story, and creates some well thought-out and unique environments, as well.

Leandro Rizzo’s art is the perfect fit for a story like this. His creativity is just right for this level of sci-fi, which is not easy. There are a ton of concepts, environments, and objects throughout the story that only someone with a ton of research and a creative mind could create. Rizzo has just that. Even if you were ignoring the fact that he nails all of that, just looking at the more constant images in the story screams pulp. The look and feel of the characters are a perfect fit. The pipe in the professor’s mouth, the cheesy comb-overs, and thin mustaches on most of the men are just little hints at what this book should and does look like. Rizzo’s art keeps well within the genre, but also manages to stay modern where the reader can look at images they haven’t seen before.

Fictionauts is an easy read to suggest for fans of the genre. Barring the fact that the pace at times is really quick, it is a complete read. Heavily steeped in the science fiction pulp genre, any fan will enjoy this read. Writer Mauro Mantella clearly put a lot of effort into making this an imaginative adventure, and puts together all the right pieces for it. A diverse and personality laden cast, and a simple plot with enough twists to keep a reader excited. Leandro Rizzo performs his artistic duties with excellence. There is plenty of detail from panel to panel, and just the right look for the pulp feel. The characters are likable, the story is entertaining, and the art is spot-on, Fictionauts is not to be missed for fans of the genre.

Fiction is a cosmic reflection of our subconscious minds. – Dalan Valley

Mike Parente


One Comment

  1. Billy

    I read most of this and thought it was pretty cool too. Good review Mike P.!

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