FF1987: The Wandering Stars

The Wandering Stars #1 by Stuart Hopen and Sam Kieth.

Another entry in the “Fantagraphics sci-fi cancelled mysteriously” series, this one lasted only one issue and ends with the words “to be continued…”

And it’s a very nice issue indeed. Kieth would later switch to a more decompressed art style, but here he crams a lot in. And not only is it very pretty, but it really works. The aliens fit into the environment as well as the humans do.

I’ve snapped a detail here from a panel. Look how awesome it is in its Bernie Wrightnosequeness, and with all these details you can skip or sit and admire (like that thing slurping the woman’s drink).

Oh, yeah, the story… It seems to have potential to get quite interesting. It’s a melancholy story of a post-faster-than-light society in decline peopled with interesting characters. But even as crammed as the pages are here, the plot moves quite placidly, so it’s difficult to tell where this all would have ended up if the series had continued.

It’s a comic book that you sometimes see on the “hey, whatever happened to…” lists, so it’s something that people seem to remember fondly.

My research team was unable to determine why no further issues were published (low sales? Kieth wanting to write his own stuff? something else?).

Sam Kieth, of course, was to become a very famous artist (and writer) a few years later, starting with The Maxx (from Image).  And I’ll be covering his anthology series I Before E later in this blog series.

Stuart Hopen later published a science fiction novel.

This post is part of the Fantagraphics Floppies series.

One thought on “FF1987: The Wandering Stars”

  1. Sales for the Wandering Stars were not bad. It was Fantagraphics second best selling title for that month. The series was cancelled because Sam Kieth left and Fantagraphics could not find a replacement artist. The Wandering Stars became my science fiction novel “Warp Angel”, originally published by Tor Books, and reprinted by (and currently available from) Misenchanted Press (through Amazon or bn.com). Warp Angel tells the entire story that was originally intended to be a seven issue comic book mini-series.

    The reviews for Warp Angel were good:

    “A non-stop ride through a faster than light funhouse.”
    Eluki Bes-Shahar
    “a swift moving imaginative debut…”
    Kirkus
    “Combining elements of space opera, action adventure, and hard sf, this tightly crafted story of revenge and redemption is a good choice for large libraries.”
    Library Journal
    “Hopen skillfully combines elements of space opera, cleverly drawn battle scenes, and metaphysical speculations on the power of faith—all without pausing a single step in a storyline of unrelenting action.”
    Booklist
    “…the book can be enjoyed for its philosophy or its physics, or even its great physical descriptions….”
    Locus
    “Warp Angel is continually surprising; Hopen’s imagination is staggering. This is a book most people will enjoy, and no one can ignore.”
    Shariann N. Lewitt
    “A crazy space opera with a serious core.”
    Wilhelmina Baird
    “…a tour-de-force… At every turn there are new wonders, fresh imagination and enough action to please the most pulpish reader. Hopen reveals himself to be a subtle and impressive thinker, as well as an inventive and enjoyable yarn spinner.”
    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    “A gonzo ride through the assorted planets of a baroque solar system…
    filled with well realized exotic characters and crazed cultural details… It’s easy to imagine [Hopen] evolving into a major talent. It’s just as easy to imagine him burning out.”
    Norman Spinrad

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