Starstruck: Old Proldiers Never Die
gg-starstruckby Elaine Lee (Author) Michael Kaluta (Illustrator)
IDW Publishing
ISBN-13: 978-1684050185

The next-to-last pick in the 2017 PopCult Gift Guide is actually the mass-market version of a book that I supported via Kickstarter over four and a half years ago. Starstruck: Old Proldiers Never Die collects the recent IDW mini-series, which serialized the long-awaited remastered and recolored science fiction epic, which presented the further adventures of Harry Palmer and some of the Galactic Girl Guides. This is the perfect gift for fans of the original Starstruck comic book, and will also appeal to folks who like Blade Runner, classic science fiction and even detective stories.

This is top-flight science fiction comic bookery here. Lee and Kaluta have crafted a story that blends film noir with space opera and comes up with a story that hits you right in the gut. Lee’s dialogue is witty and clever and Kaluta’s art is as incredibly detailed and wonderful as it always has been. To give you a sense of the story, here’s the publisher’s blurb:

What does a guy do when his droid goes missing? And not just any droid, an extremely rare pleasure droid that’s a dead ringer for his long-lost love! As bartender Harry Palmer–ex-rebel, ex-mercenary “proldier”–combs Rec 97, a perilous, planet-sized, vacation station, following clues and fending off enemies, he must also delve into his own past to do battle with his personal demons. Will Annie’s abductor be an old pal, a hidden foe, or two inebriated fem-fighters that frequent his bar?

Elaine Lee has had incarnations as an EMMY-nominated actress and playwright, artistic director of a theatre company (Wild Hair Productions), comic book writer and color artist, animation writer and story editor, video game writer, and art director for a music company. Specializing in sci-fi, fantasy and horror, Elaine has created six original comic series (including BrainBanx, Skin Tight Orbit, and The Transmutation of Ike Garuda). She is best known as writer/creator of Vamps. She has written animation scripts for Niolan, A-Film, and Stardust Entertainment/Hallmark Entertainment.

Michael Kaluta’s early professional art appeared in pulp magazines, and his earliest comic book work appeared in various Charlton Comics. DC Comics was Kaluta’s main focus of the 1970s; drawing interiors and, eventually, covers for their House of Mystery and House of Secrets comic books. Covers for both Detective Comics and Batman were the next step, and, eventually, the nod to draw DC Comics’ 1970s versions of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Carson of Venus and pulp icon The Shadow. The new century saw a Madame Xanadu five-issue comic book story arc, and Chaos King, a special 30-page stand-alone book in Marvel’s Chaos War.

I’ve been a fan of Starstruck for a ridiculously long time and it’s terrific to finally have this collection in my hands. The mass-market version is not vastly different from the Kickstarter edition, so be advised that you’re in for a treat with ultra-high production values and printing and a killer story and art. You ought to be able to find this book at any bookseller or well-stocked comic book shop, or go to Amazon where they have everything, usually for way less money.