Starstruck by The AudioComics Company (adapted by Elaine Lee)
Buy It Now: from Amazon (Also available on iTunes and other online retailers.)
Description: Buck Rogers meets Barbarella meets The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…the off-Broadway sci-fi comedy masterpiece that spawned a comic book revolution has come to audio! Written by Elaine Lee with Susan Norfleet and Dale Place, featuring characters from the comic by Lee and Michael Kaluta. Currently on compact disc and pay-per-mp3 downloads, Starstruck will ride the radio waves this winter!
This review is based on a digital download provided by AudioComics.
When I first received the mp3 files for Starstruck, I thought the included artwork looked familiar. When I did a little background research, I learned it was a comic book series in Marvel’s Epic imprint (and before that, an off-Broadway play) back in the 80s. Then I realized I actually had one of the comics, picked up randomly in my former local’s “Everything You Can Cram Into a Longbox for $150” sale a few years back. I had read it at the time but was thoroughly lost. Let me assure you that having the complete story helps enormously with context!
The plot is a fun sci-fi romp with some very incongruous elements. Who would think that the fate of the galaxy would hinge on a load of phone books hiding a cache of secret information? The juxtaposition of the mundane and laughably ludicrous reminds me very much of Douglas Adams. And there’s plenty for the reference spotter to enjoy. I only started writing them down in Act 2, but I caught nods to and parodies of Star Trek, Doctor Who, Christopher Walken, Woody Allen, Walter Cronkite and the Wizard of Oz, just to name a few.
The production values are top notch on this audio comic. Most of the voices are really good, too. The only thing that kept it from getting full marks from me was that conversations, especially heated arguments (of which there are many), can be very hard to follow. Characters tend to talk without pauses between Speaker A and Speaker B and many of the female characters have a similar tone (though most have a characteristic accent), making it hard for me to discern who’s speaking and to whom. Other than that, it was a very enjoyable listen.
Despite being a comedy, take that mention of Barbarella to heart. There are adult concepts (and occasional swearing) that are probably not appropriate for the under-16s unless you want some interesting questions that may be difficult to answer. Of course, if you have children in your life, you’re the best judge of what they’re ready for. I’d recommend Starstruck the audio comic to anyone who’s a fan of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, pulp sci-fi or just general goofy space operas.