Life in the Skies

Diesel #1

Written/Drawn by, Tyson Hesse
Letters by, Jim Campbell

How could this happen?! An incredible comic came out and I was TOTALLY caught off guard by it! Diesel #1 came out on September 9th and it is incredible. This four issue mini is released under Boom! Studios' Boom! Box imprint which seems to pump out nothing but hits such as Lumberjanes, Giant Days, Power Up, basically all stuff that I fall in love with. This series is written AND drawn by Tyson Hesse, who has previously worked on a bunch of commercial properties such as Bravest Warriors, Sonic, and The Amazing World of Gumball. He also has a great webcomic called Boxer Hockey which YOU can check out here!

This story takes place in the floating, mobile city of Peacetowne, where a young woman named Dee Diesel is working in a mechanical shop and whiling away the hours until she can become captain of the city. Dee clearly has a lot of ambition and passion about the air-based land mass, but all of the characters find her to be too juvenile to hold so many peoples' lives in her hands. Regardless, her tenacity gives her the confidence to believe that she was born for this, and in a way she was. You see, the Diesel family was largely responsible for the creation of Peacetowne and made it the flying metropolis it is today. Dee, being the last of the family's bloodline, gives her a sense of entitlement. She is joined in her endeavors by her constant robotic companion, Rickets, who participates and encourages her... rambunctious behavior. Will she prove everyone wrong and provide more prosperity to Peacetowne? Can't say, but a shocking turn of events may give her the chance!

Hesse has spun a yarn that, for me, felt sort of like a whimsical mixture of a Miyazaki movie and the Dark Crystal, the former more than the latter. As some of the community is introduced to the reader we see a variety of human and humanoid characters, each with their own tone and disposition. Though we are introduced to numerous characters in the tale, Hesse makes it very clear that this is Diesel's story, essentially working as a chronicle of this strange day in her life. The real writing success of this story is the enjoyable dynamics between the characters. Dee is often times treated as sort of a pesky younger sister but how the other characters deal with that is comedic, character defining gold. Specifically her relationship with the current captain, Cap Wells, who feels that Dee's impetuousness could turn out to be a serious problem. There's a lot of story going on in this first issue, and a ton more is sure to come in the next three.

Hesse's art style is gorgeous. The character models, human or not, have a unique charm that aids to the fantasy elements of the story while making the ready more curious about what everyone's role is. Every outfit adorned by the characters is jaw dropping and mostly ranges between colorful seafaring attire and grease monkey wear. As a location, Peacetowne is "bigger on the inside" as we are shown the island from further away and it does look like a small city, but as we see characters interact within it becomes full of life and constantly growing. Aw man and this robot is great! Look, I'm not one to compliment artificial intelligence, as I am nervous of the consequences, but Rickets is one cute robot. With human-like body language, this mostly silent character gets a personality of his own and a tangible friendship between him... she... it and Dee. Actions, particularly electrically involved actions, (you'll have to read it to understand what THAT means) are treated with an explosion of color giving a sense of power behind certain sequences. Finally, I would like to mention the design. The book uses simple grid layouts and grid over image layouts to give just the right amount of importance to certain scenes and a wonderful indication of where your eye should go next.

Normally, I mention "if you like this, this, and this, then try this book out" but honestly, I think this is for everyone. There is a fair amount of action amidst an ocean of charm with no lack of well written, appropriate dialogue which will not hesitate to give numerous comedic, smile inducing moments. Hesse has a huge hit on his hands, and people really need to know about it. This is an example of a story that you shouldn't trade wait on. By that I mean, let this writer/artist know that you are interested so we can see more of this exceptional work! As I mentioned earlier, this comic came out on September 9th and costs $3.99. You can probably still find it out there and it is worth every penny. 

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