Gun and Ships and Fraught Relationships: Should You Be Reading ‘Starfighter’? [Love & Sex Week]
With Should I Be Reading… ?, ComicsAlliance hopes to offer you a guide to some of the best original ongoing comics being published today. For the week of Valentine’s Day, we’re celebrating some of the best romance and erotica comics.
In Starfighter by HamletMachine, two young men are thrust into the inky blackness of space, forced to work together to pilot their ship against the enemy and make it out alive. They couldn’t have less in common at first --- but things heat up very quickly between them…
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Starfigher is set in a space opera universe reminiscent of Honor Harrington or Battlestar Galactica, and focuses on two characters: callsign Cain, a pilot, and callsign Abel, a navigator.
Abel is soft-spoken and nervous around the confident and abusive Cain, who is brutal and heartless in combat --- and their relationship takes a turn when they fall into bed together, flush with the rush of having survived mortal combat in the vacuum of space.
But Cain has a history, the sort of history you can hear pronounced with a capital H, and Abel is trying to get to the bottom of it (so to speak) while dealing with the pressures of the job. A major offensive is about to launch, and there's a chance that no one will make it out alive…
WHO'S IT BY?
HamletMachine, AKA Michelle Palumbo, a student of animation at the Manhattan School of Visual Arts. Palumbo has been working on Starfighter for six years.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
There are a lot of dudes having sex.
There’s not as much out there as there should be in the realms of science fiction for fans of men loving men, but Starfighter is doing its part to combat the erasure of the male queer experience in the genre.
Over and above that, the muted colors of the comic, with just about all light being artificial, sells how isolated the station and the pilots are, and how cold space can get. It’s a world where everything is dangerous, and love may be the most dangerous thing of all.
There’s a nastiness to Cain and Abel’s relationship, since Cain is domineering and abusive, and it lends a tension to everything, as if everything could be blown to smithereens on a moment’s notice. On a space station, a meteor the size of a golf ball could end everyone’s life, so this is a perfect fit for the setting even at its least intense.
WHO SHOULD READ IT?
Fans of sci-fi and fans of men being with men, as long as they are over 18 years of age (this is a very explicit comic book.) Anyone who likes romance with a dangerous side (a very dangerous side--- in addition to explicit sex, the central relationship is not one to be emulated).
WHERE CAN I READ IT?