Saturday, July 11, 2009


By Chris Wilson

Author & Illustrator: Kerry Callen
Publisher: SLG Publishing
Genre: Philosophy and humor

Format: Softcover Volume: 1
Color: Black and white
ISBN-10: 0-943151-81-3

Katie, a 20-something single girl, lives in a duplex with Sprocket the robot and Halo an angel. Together the offbeat triad waxes philosophic about the quirky nature of humanity. Entrusted in her care, Sprocket is a developing young robot seeking to eventually earn his own individuality and awareness with the help of his friends. They contemplate the “is the glass half full or half empty” question, but Sprocket is unable to understand the point. He sees the glass, which is actually plastic not glass, as 44.89% full of water and 55.11% full of air while Halo sees the reality of “full” and “empty” as two cooperating opposites of a whole – a yin and yang – where one cannot exist without the other. Katie gives up and listens to a song on the radio.

So it goes throughout the entire graphic novel. Katie spends her time trying to explain why saliva in the mouth is acceptable but spit is gross and other oddities to a robot and an angel, both of who are completely incapable of understanding the peculiar habits and nature of human beings.

HALO AND SPROCKET is the Seinfeld of comic books, a book about nothing really but our own introspective lives and the oddities of humanity.

Chris’ Rating: High School

There are some scenes that are more mature. Katie has a food disposal issue so she asks Frank, the next-door neighbor to assist. The beer-swelling handyman makes sexual cracks at her expense even brandishing a T-shirt that says, “Right Here, Baby” with an arrow pointing at his genital region.

In another scene, Katie et al. have an entire discussion while she is in her nightgown. Toward the end, Katie has hiccups and Halo, in an attempt to scare the hiccups away, makes Katie believe the merchant of death has come to take her soul. He yanks her away, right out of her clothes. Of course, it is appropriately drawn so no vital parts are exposed.

The clever psychology or sociology instructor could make great use of HALO AND SPROCKET by using the text to reflect upon the connectedness of the favorite teenage pastime of hanging out and talking about “nothing”. In reality, “nothing” is not nothing at all – a point that HALO AND SPROCKET make quite well.

Click here to read an 8-page preview.

Recommended with Reservations
HALO AND SPROCKET is tender and unique in its idiosyncratic approach to storytelling. Its Seinfeldian discussions and awkwardness make the book authentic and comfortable yet stimulating and, for some young people, possibly mind-blowing. The scene with the next-door neighbor gives me some pause about using it in a classroom.

No comments: