Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Violet Marlocke has the most amazing family in the whole galaxy. Sure, they aren't rich and her dad works a rather hazardous job, but things seem fine until her school is eaten by space whales. Her mom manages to get a job as a fashion designer at the space station, bringing Violet along until they can get her into another school. Then her dad disappears after a huge explosion of corrosive whale poop. Setting off on a rescue missions, Violet collects a menagerie of friends to help her on her quest to bring her family back together again.
We need to talk about how amazing this book is. Unlike most graphic novels where I can read and quickly glance at the frames, I had to slow down and carefully analyze each frame and spread. I have no idea how long it took for Thompson to complete this novel, but it must have been quite a process. The attention to detail is fantastic.
I know the story itself seems bizarre. Talking chickens? Space whales? Lumpkins? Here's the thing. One of my favorite things about the science fiction and fantasy genres is that one can use absurd things to delve into deeper topics in a way that won't feel like you are beating home some point. For example: This book deals pretty directly with class-ism. Violet and her family are not wealthy. Her dad has a bit a criminal record. And when her mom gets a job on a space station it is a tentative work relationship. The minute something goes wrong, her mother is among the first to be rounded up and kicked out. And when she tries to protest her treatment and demand someone look for her daughter, she is thrown in jail. Yet, this doesn't feel heavy-handed in the slightest, just another part of the story. There are also absent fathers, loneliness, feelings of betrayal, friendship, family, and even showing understanding to other species no matter if they eat planets or not. Such a wonderful book with a great heroine. I liked it so much that I kind of wish there was a sequel.