Lately I’ve been reading detailed texts full of charts and graphs for a fiction project. A surefire relief from that sort of intensity has been a visit to an alternate Earth filled with jetpacks, monstrous villains, and Zot, the upbeat superhero. Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991 is a collection of early work of Scott McCloud, author of the highly acclaimed book, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. Before this collection, the Zot! comics had been nearly impossible to find; they were stuff of geek legend, known only by comic book superfreaks.
Zot (who, it must be said, has much in common with Astro Boy and the manga genre) is a teenager who saves his world everyday. But he’s also in love with Jenny Weaver, a woebegone high-schooler who he meets when he enters our own, more humdrum Earth through a portal.
What makes Zot! so special is not the wars with various villains such as 9-Jack-9, or such details as the alternate Earth’s inability to leave the year 1965, but Zot’s puppy-love affair with Jenny the daydreamer. Zot! also has a love affair of its own—with steampunk contraptions and clashing, detailed drawings, with something going on in every page. These comics came about early in McCloud’s career, so there are missteps here and there. Nonetheless, strange, alternate world of Zot! is one worth escaping to.
Bio: Meakin Armstrong is Guernica’s fiction editor. Read his Guernica blog entries “here”:http://www.guernicamag.com/blog/. Read his last recommendation “here”:http://www.guernicamag.com/blog/1265/staff_pick_meakin_armstrong_3/.