Review by Seán Donnelly
“Urgh, time to start another boring day of work!” So says Aloe, the blue-haired accountant of the Intergalactic Spaceship Bowie in the first page of the webcomic Shipwrecked. “Boring” is certainly the word for the Bowie’s accounting department, especially when its contrasted with the excitement that occurs on the captain’s bridge every week or so. Fortunately, Shipwrecked is several light-years away from the word “boring”. With witty dialogue, deft characterisation and bright artwork that pops, Shipwrecked is a work that deserves more attention.
The comic’s quality is primarily down to the talent on display, consisting of homegrown writers and artists who ensure a consistently charming and funny comic week after week. Katie Fleming provides the drawings currently, with Triona Farrell holding art duties for the first twenty-four pages. Both artists have an eye for character, with every member of the main cast being distinguishable in design and backgrounds that wouldn’t look out of place in a straightforward piece of sci-fi. Rebecca Nalty’s colours give life to Fleming and Farrell’s charming sketches, with each character standing out against the grey spaceship interior, their sketchy quality (complete with broad outlines) giving them a manic energy that suits the comic’s physical comedy.
For verbal comedy we look to two figures, writer Aaron Fever and letterer Zakk Samm. Fever instils each character with a distinct personality that deepens over the course of the story, such as the numbers-obsessed Bobsjvul or the overtly passionate Oscar. All the characters are at the behest of crew that is indifferent to them at best, giving the accounting office a sense of unity. It is this camaraderie that lies at the core of the comic itself. Interactions feel natural and the comedy leans heavily on the characters themselves, but when the comedy is this good that’s hardly an issue. Against the grey backdrop of the accounting office the main cast stands out, not just in terms of colour, but also in terms of the amusement and entertainment that they bring.