Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Distant Soil Vol 1 & 2 by Colleen Doran

The remastered collection has a lovely
cut out cover of a diamond revealing a
peek at the artwork on the first page.
Wikipedia describes A Distant Soil as "an epic Space Opera" (the melodramatic adventure type not the type that involve music). Melodramatic is a good way to describe this series. It's full of dramatic character interaction and lots of romance. This sci-fi is most known for being one the earliest comic books to contain openly gay characters in lead roles. Over the years people have speculated on the story telling of the book and related it to manga. I agree these thoughts do have some validity. The pacing of this book reminds me greatly of a lot of the shojo I read although I have to say I'm a bigger fan of Angel Sanctuary than A Distant Soil. There's little comparison really other than the slower scenes showing expressing the desires of characters and hinting at ulterior motives and betrayal. I guess that's most manga and opera right there.

Plot-wise this whole book feels as if it was meant for teenagers which is why it reminds me of Shojo. Not to mention all the romance. Originally I wanted to read the book because I was told it was a science fiction story.  It lacks the complexity of explaining technology (technology not being all that important in this book which is why I think it is classified as space opera). The alien technology is mainly powered by crystals. Yes, those damn 80's crystals which I find extremely cheesy. Do not let me mislead you however, this book is cheesy by my standards. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Doran employs a diverse group of people from all kinds of backgrounds as the team who is supposed to save the Ovanans race from its governments genocidal ways.

I did enjoy the stories. I like shojo and things that generally fall into that category. One of my favorite stories to this day is still Escaflowne. I think that if I had read this growing up, I would have been completely in love with it. However the idea of finding gay-character-positive comic books in my home town is hysterically unlikely. We were lucky to find anything that wasn't just Marvel & DC. I'm pretty sure this would have been banned from our only real comic book store back in the 80's and 90's. I'm from a town called Truro which has since been known as the gay capital of Nova Scotia but don't say that around the mayor. He wouldn't let anyone fly the pride flag because he didn't want Truro associated with homosexuality. You mean the homosexuality that's already there? Fuck that guy....anyway....

Recently Image has been re-releasing A Distant Soil in remastered editions. As far as I can tell, only the first two volumes are currently available. Volume 2 came out last August so I think we're due for a remastering of volume 3 now Image! Come on!! Cough it up!