Cold Cut Distribution's Feature Spotlight #2 - November 1994

Strange Attractors

Publisher:	Retrografix
Story:		Mark Sherman & Michael Cohen
Art:		Michael Cohen
Cvr Price:	$2.50
Frequency:	Quarterly


This is waaaay too plot-packed a comic to boil its whole story down into a couple paragraphs! The basic tale is about a young woman named Sophie, who starts in issue 1 as the new curator of the Museum of Lost Things and by issue 3 is off gallivanting across the galaxy in an attempt to rescue a childhood friend of hers who has married Sophie's sweetheart. She is assisted in her adventure by the legendary space pilot and counter-revolutionary, Pirate Peg. Peg also just happens to be the star of Sophie's favorite comic book, Spicy Space Stories, of which Sophie has memorized every issue. Since the stories were usually based on the very real exploits of Pirate Peg and her Moon Marauders, Sophie actually manages to glean quite a bit of useful knowledge and history from her memories of the comics. And when Fate chooses Sophie to be the hub of the upcoming galactic battle in the ages-old war between Magic and Science, you can bet that Sophie and her friends (and the readers) are in for one heck of an adventure.

Writing Review:

If I had to pick one complaint about this title, it's that each issue is so jam-packed with plot that you feel like you've read 4 or 5 regular comics. Issue 1 alone would have lasted a year if done in a Marvel book. The drawback to this pacing is that the characters go through so much before we can really care about them, since caring takes time and not much else. By the time I got to #3, I was desperately interested in the fates of Sophie and her companions. And now, like thousands of other Strange Attractors readers, I can only wait anxiously for issue 7's arrival early in November to find out how they get out of this one (Mark & Mike's penchant for a dramatic cliffhanger is a wonderful hook for future sales - you can't forget it, even after three months!)

Art Review:

Cohen's pleasant, 50's-style artwork is probably what gives "Retro-grafix" its name. Hearkening back to the days of Dell and Gold Key, Mike's simple layouts yet depth-filled panels are easy on the eye. His eye for details, like the strange gadgets constantly in the background at the Museum, provides a nice sense of "fullness". Excellently rendered.


Strange Attractors is an unusual blend of science-fiction, adventure, and romance. There's also a big nostalgia attraction to the book, due to the key role of the "classic comic book" Spicy Space Stories. Cohen draws plenty of covers and interiors for this "comic within a comic" - you'd almost expect to find SSS listed in Overstreet (in the first issue of SA, they even provide Overstreet-like pics and listings for 8 or 9 issues of Spicy!). One suggestion: don't let prospective readers give up after reading issue 1. If you sometimes lend customers books, or provide a money-back guarantee on some books, be sure to keep the first 2 issues of SA together. Issue 1 read as a stand-alone is a possibly-confusing, blurringly-fast setup for the rest of the series. With 2, it makes a great story. Besides, the cliffhanger at the end of issue 2 is sure to get them back in your store, clamoring for the next book.

One nice feature of SA is the "story so far" blurb on the inside cover of every issue since #3. With a book like this, that's a big plus. It's tough to pick a book that Strange Attractors is like - it has the "galactic rebels on the run" feel of early Dreadstar and the "young girl in a space adventure" aspect of Wandering Star. To take a stab, I'd start SA at about one-half the sales of Wandering Star and work up from there.

If you like Strange Attractors, take a look at:

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