Runners: Bad Goods #1
Serve Man Press (January, 2003)
WRITER/ARTIST: Sean Wang
Note that my collection of the miniseries, picked up at a ConnectiCon, is the original black and white miniseries while on the website and in current graphic novel collections (he started using solely graphic novels in the second story in the series) it’s in full color.
Meet the crew of the Khoruysa Brimia, a group of smugglers, or as their “occupation” is referred to in this galaxy, “runners”. We have the captain, Roka Nostaco, the lone human Bocce, pilot Ril Mar, infamous sharpshooter Cember Kogi, and the rock man Bennesaud. They were supposed to pick up some cargo from another ship but they were attacked by space pirate Hamron The Handsome, who has made an out-of-character trashing raid and killing spree on the other ship. Our heroes (such as they are) manage to chase them off but the cargo seems to be damaged, with one survivor found out cold in the cargo bay. Also, in the color version and covers she’s blue but otherwise looks like a human. But she isn’t part of the murdered crew.
What they got right: We get a really good introduction to the focal characters, our entry into this universe who will play an on-an-off part in the planned story, but remain our primary characters as of this writing. Without spelling it out we get an idea what “runners” are, the personalities of each member, Bocce’s extending arm (given a more blue energy like look in color and future stories, though in black and white it looks more like Gloop and Gleep from The Herculoids), Cember and Bennesaud having a reputation but only seeing Cember’s shooting skills, and sets up the events of the storyline.
What they got wrong: This really does look better in color. It’s fine in black and white but usually black and white looks bad in color because the art was designed with not being in full color in mind. In this case the art looks good but when you compare it to the color version this was clearly made with color in mind. I get that it’s cheaper not to be in color and this was his first self-published project, but you aren’t missing out seeing the current version unless you’re just that curious.
What I think overall: Runners is my favorite webcomic and this miniseries, purchased from Wang himself at ConnectiCon (my copy of this issue is even signed), was my introduction to it. There’s a reason it’s in my blogroll under “My Favorite Webcomics” so you really should check it out. This was a good introduction to the series.