I skip a lot of details in these individual synopsises and instead have my own snide comments about the silliness of the plot (i.e. why would you bring your girlfriend along on a drug raid?). Here's the rundown of the plot: Space Beaver is a vigilante, fighting small time drug pushers and working his way up against miners of the drug Optimum with the help of his friend Tog, whose family was killed by pushers working for the nefarious Lord Pork. Lord Pork has kidnapped and brainwashed the love of Beave's life, Jackie, into becoming his (Pork's) personal slave. As an added bummer for the Beave, Pork's hired one of the top mercenaries of Anutherurth (the planet this all takes place on) to kill Beave. Read on, macduff...
|This was divided into three chapters. Beave & Tog
introduced with the battle cry "BEAVER HO!" and a sudden rush, guns
at some of Lord Pork's cronies, Commander Foxx and Sgt. Hobbes, who flee
losing 18 co-workers. Whilst camping out waiting for the next bloodbath,
and Tog use a flashback to discuss the wherabouts of Beave's presumed-dead
girlfriend, Jackie, whose body they never found. Beave & Tog try to
some more foxguards the next morning, but are captured by Commander Foxx,
then tortured by Lord Pork. Beave manages to break free but falls into
murky glop and is attacked by giant octopus or something like that...yet
in "chapter 2" Beave manages to escape and while roaming Lord Pork's ship
is confronted by Rodent, who helps Beave free Tog. However, in "chapter
the trio are captured (again) by Jackie, thought long dead...of course
escape (again) and start kickin' more ass, with Beave planning instant
on Lord Pork,
This came out October 1986.
|(image not available right now, sorry!)|
|Space Beaver Vol.1 No. 2 was released in January of 1987. The inside cover featured a picture of Darick Robertson. The end of the issue features four more cool drawings with inane titles added at the bottom and several drawings of all the main characters, including Stinger, who had not been introduced into the story yet. Also, letters from readers are printed in the back and answered by Space Beaver himself.|
|Back at Max's, Beave stops a bar fight between this porcupine and a drug addict while Tog explains the whole story of his & Beave's life (another set of flashbacks). The whole thing is mainly an origin thing common in comic books. Anyway, here it is: Tog was a handyman working for Ernest Badger, who is president of Badger Motor Co. ("It's A Badger! (Tm)). Tog would bring his kid Mikey over while he worked, and Mikey would play with lonely picked-on 'Beave. Beave & Mikey grew up, and Mikey became a drug addict. His mother found out and when she followed Mikey to see where he was gettin' the goods from, she was discovered by the dealers and killed, and so was Mikey. Beave & Tog grab some Badger Motor Co. supplies and prepare to dispense justice. Outside of the flashback, Pork hires a certain porcupine to kill Beave.|
4: FASTER PORCUPINE! KILL! KILL!
Stinger sets a trap for Beave & his buds, who of course go for it. They are about to raid a drug mine but instead are ambushed by Stinger & Lord Pork's guards. They run like hell into a forest nearby and Stinger takes them all down one by one... This was published March 1987 and the front cover was coloured by Ann Hatchett Sprague. The inside cover had a drawing of Beave from Shepherd Hendrix (???) and Dam Mail was answered by Darick and Tibor. Darick added four drawings of Tog, Beave, Rodent and Stinger, and on the next page had an advertisement for t-shirts with those drawings on them...
There was also a parody of Space Beaver released between #4 and 5, featuring a mouse in Tog's place. "That was a serious attempt at their own launch. It was basically a rip off of my failing idea! How lame can you get? At least steal from something sucessful. There were panels that you could compare to issues of Beave that were obviously heavily consulted upon as this thing was created."
#5 came out June 1987 and the back cover was another full colour drawing of Stinger. Mark Bode (Miami Mice) donated his version of Space Beaver for the inside cover; four more character portraits were added: Jackie, Lord Pork, Commander Foxx and Sgt. Hobbes. An ad for previous issues was added with the t-shirt add. Darick answered Dam Mail.
Darick says that this was his favorite SB issue, and it definitely stands out from the rest those moments.
Published September 1987 and featured art from Mike Grell (Green Arrow); the back cover was a full colour picture of Beave and crew. Darick managed to squeeze in a few jokes from a animal comedian named "Bobcat," who apparently talked funny and acted stupid. Sure enough, as Darick explains...
"Trivia note! I actualy fashioned the Bobcat comedian after Bobcat Goldthwait, (Police Academy 2, Scrooged, Hot To Trot, and my all time favorite as those previous ones sucked, SHAKES THE CLOWN! If you haven't seen it, track it down and rent it. Adam Sandler's first screen appearance!) whom I met and got his verbal permission from to do that parody of him and use his name. That joke he's telling in #6 is actually a Bobcat Goldthwait joke from his set. He liked it, and the local DJ/comedy promoter did too. So much so that I did a radio on air interview about the book, and he was entertaining the notion of publishing his own comic for me to draw with animal parodies of all the local comedy talent doin' the comedy scene in an alternative animal world. Never happened though, but for a while, local comedians knew who I was."
|Lord Pork gets pissy at Stinger and decides to send all his test subjects who are all higher then hell and wanting more to kill Stinger. Not a good move, as drug addicts aren't the most dependable of all people. Especially if you want them to do something other than try to get over the muncies and giggle. Stinger deals with them and is more than angry about this and decides to, you know, talk things out with Pork. Beave has more nightmares, but thank goodness for alcohol. And that's about it.|
This was published April 1988 and featured more art from Ann Hatchett and Darick's early drawings of Space Beaver. The publishers, Rob Read and Tibor Sardy, addressed the problem of distribution (which appeared to be a BIG problem, I guess) in the Dam Mail.
Thanks! Also on the inside cover of SB #9 (August 1988) is the Ten Buck Comics group warrior portrait of the staff. Darick is holding a laser gun and a sword. Gene Sprague also included a schematic of Tog's "It's A Badger (tm) Tortoise Shell," which features a 400-megaton laser cannon. The Aragones art is a sketch of Groo the Wanderer about to have a fray with an unsuspecting Beave from the cover of issue 8. My copy was picked up by Matt Holliman, who stopped by Peninsula comics one day, and is signed on page 1 at the bottom. Cool.
Darick experiments with humans instead of animals in the end of the issue, which was published December 1988. It was rather odd to see Beave & co. in human form; Stinger looks like Kurt Russel from Escape From New York. Dave Sim (Cerebus) sent in artwork and well over 160 people were listed in Beavermania.
...and that's it for SB # 11 (April 1989). Story & Layouts by Darick, but the whole issue was inked by Chris Alexander, who painted the cover, who added a five page extra, "The Lesson," about Stinger in some sort of merc commando deal where he's possibly being set up. It doesn't look very good. It doesn't read very good. It's just not very good. It doesn't help that Stinger's mane of quills is drawn really high. The cover is Stinger & Beave fighting it out amongst a swarm of Foxguards (much similar to the proposed cover for The Tick #13, which this predates by at least 3 years). There's also various lines at the bottoms that may have been a damage to the original art en route to the printer, and kept in & scanned for the final printing. There is no back cover art. The inside drawing comes from Ove Wahl from Sweden, a drawing of Pork leading Tibor Sardy by the pony tail, with the caption "Fat is beautiful." There's a list of beavermania fans on one page and then on the back inside cover, some bad typeface of the offers for various SB original art. No letters or comments from the publishers.
So, anyway, Beave and Stinger are cornered by several fox guards until one of the soldiers flys a little too close to Stinger in a "sky pod," which Stinger commandeers to push back the rest of the guards. Meanwhile, Tog and Rodent find themselves found by Hobbes, who has his squadron help Tog & Rodent set up the bombs to blow life support. Isn't that nice of him? Tog & Rodent are understandably shocked and confused.
Pork is shitting-in-his-pants scared.
Beave & Stinger split up, Beave after Pork and Stinger into Jackie's last minute, hare-dangling (get it? OW STOP BEATING ME!) rescue. Pork makes a pathetic attempt to run away from Beave and barely escapes into another room, where we see him come across someone he apparently knows. As Pork starts bitching about where this person was, this person fires a hole into Pork's head and that's that, "the bacon is fried." (I'm trying not to give it away here, okay?)
Tog & Rodent are given a ship by the generous Hobbes, who tells Tog to stop whining and join the new anuther-world order. Tog waits around in the ship as the bay starts imploding until Stinger runs in with Jackie and orders Tog to take off, even though Beave hasn't made it back. With only seconds to spare, Tog has to lift off, and soon they're on their way back to Anutherurth, Beave clinging on for dear life to the retracting landing gear...
And so ends Space Beaver. In one issue we see some 80's B&W funny animals experience more in the sense of heartbreak, disappointment, and closure than most literary and comic figures. Beave coming across Pork's dead body (oh, and peeing on it) may have fulfilled his prophecy, "He's done too much to me to walk away without seeing him dead and pissing on his corpse," but having passed up the opportunity to make sure Jackie got out alive to only see that someone else had beaten him to Pork must have been just a little disheartening. Does that make sense? "I didn't get to kill him, I'm heartbroken." I am a tool.
The 24 pages seem to go by really quick but so much is packed in to complete the story arc of a once on-going series with enough left over to hint that more could said on the adventures of the current cast for another series (not bloodly likely, though). The art is detailed and heavy on the black, and with so much action, huge interior shots of Pork's ship and a cast of hundreds (mostly dying), some of it looks too crammed in for the size of the pages. Meaning: this would look great on bigger paper dimensions; Darick's current work features well detailed figures and immense city skylines, but rarely shoved into 6 panels per page. Despite the perspectives of looming loading docks, their tiny panels give a claustrophobic sense to the ship, adding to the suspense of "will they make it out?" The writing is massively improved. With no other choice than the quick pacing here, the dialogue is to-the-point and fun when defying the "witty action movie" banter you would expect. "If only I had prepared something to say..." says Pork's assailant.
Story completed, Tog, Rodent, Stinger & Jackie are on their way home for plenty more surprises...