The Outer Space Men

"From the farthest reaches of our galaxy come the Outer Space Men!" So proclaims the back cover for this self-contained, self-published story based upon the characters designed by Mel Birnkrant. Birnkrant provides an introduction to this book and also provides the characters he designed to partake in adventures filtered through the imagination of Eric C. Hayes and Rudolf Montemayor.

While the original release of these critters in action figure form predates me, the designs were subliminally familiar. I'd seen these characters in various places and here before me they were collected in the Interplanetary Security Council upon Space Station Tau. Hayes breathes life into these characters that makes the adventures at once invigorating and new, familiar yet alien. Given the format of a trade paperback to work with, Hayes is spared endless reiteration of the same introductions ad nauseum. The characters are presented and defined from there. Their adventure is our adventure and their story is for us to behold.

Montemayor is quite a find on the art side of this book. His art is scratchy and rough in some spots, but there is an undeniable evolution in line confidence and page composition as the story deepens. Montemayor's work reminds me of a less-refined Neal Adams. Maybe somewhere in the realm of a Tom Grindberg or Norm Breyfogle, even. His style is well-suited for these characters and this adventure. Montemayor renders Hollow Earth with equal dedication as he affords the main characters of this story.

Borstel, assisted by Miranda on colors, breathes life onto the page. This story may have been overly dark and depressing if it were relegated to a black and white story, but the colors definitely make this book worth looking at. The lettering itself is stunning in its own right, as many voices were provided from the start of the book and carried throughout, allowing me to easily distinguish the characters regardless of how much dialogue was ever jammed onto one page.

This book was a blank slate to me, as I had no personal history nor involvement with these characters nor creators. I gave it a go and I'm very happy I did. I would be remiss, however, if I did not mention that this is not a done-in-one-sitting book. It is a very full story with a great deal of information and a widely divergent cast, but it is also an engaging read. I applaud the effort put into this book and look forward to more from this crew soon. While the book is not a recent release (it debuted at the New York Comic Con) it can be obtained through your favorite online bookseller or via the website dedicated to the Outer Space Men at www.theouterspacemen.com.

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