Written by: David Quantic
Illustrated by: Tamra Bonvillain
Published by: Self Published
Reviewed by: Kristian Horn
A long time ago, in our very own galaxy, a very powerful race of alien beings from the planet Jupiter came to visit our own planet. In Earth they found many wonders that they could not have imagined existed on their own world. For eons they wandered the third rock from the Sun, taking in all of the bounty it had to give. They co-existed peacefully with humans and bounded upon our planet with somewhat peaceful intentions. For eons they treated our world as somewhat of a hotel resort, a place to get away from it all, a place to enjoy the finer things in life…such as cheese fries.
But as more and more of their population migrated to our big, blue, gem of a world many of them noticed that Jupiter itself was beginning to decay from neglect. As their attention turned more toward Earth their home planet began to fall apart and the call went out that every single one of the aliens was to return home so they could salvage their home world and keep it whole for the generations to come.
Thus begins the wholly enjoyable and interestingly romantic comic book Bakersfield, Earth. In all honesty, I’m not really doing the book’s tone justice. Bakersfield is actually somewhat of a humor book. My opening paragraph may have made it seem like a somewhat staid and stale science fiction tale but Bakersfield, Earth has an opening chapter that’s guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. I don’t know what I was expecting when I received a review copy of this book but I can tell you that, based on the cover’s illustration, what I got was far from what I thought what I was going to get.
David Quantic’s book ends up being a nice mix between three genres: Sci-Fi, Humor, and Romance. From the opening chapter you know you’re getting something different. The beginning pages of the book which detail the colonization of Earth by the aliens from Jupiter (known as Corpreals) are hysterical. Quantic details the secret history of Earth as seen by the Corpreals and it’s a sequence that is funnier than any comic I’ve read in recent memory. Maybe it’s because I was expecting a straight up science fiction tale but, damn, the opening volley of this comic book did a good job of tickling my funny bone. It’s an introduction that was as memorable as it was funny.
Once that opening wraps up Bakersfield, Earth becomes somewhat of a different animal. The comic quickly shifts focus and narrows its view to center on the one Corpreal that refuses to leave our planet once his race begins to migrate back to their home planet. For centuries this individual Corpreal hides itself, hopping between human bodies and drinking in every experience humanity has to offer. Eventually, in early 1970’s California he settles into the form of a transgender individual and that is where the rest of this story begins to move forward once again.
Quantic very deftly changes gears at this point from a story which incorporates broad humor to one of personal experience and even romance. While the latter half of Bakersfield, Earth does heavily borrow from John Carpenter’s Starman, it is also its own unique and lovely tale about new experiences and attempting to find love and understanding in a world that isn’t always ready to offer either. What begins as a humor book successfully makes the transition into something else, something sweet and with meaning and yet still remains entertaining. What writer has done with Bakersfield, Earth is perform a bit of high wire act, balancing between humor and seriousness to tell a tale that successfully incorporates both elements.
I don’t know if Bakersfield, Earth is an ongoing comic or a one shot book. The ending certainly does leave off with a cliffhanger but this being an indie book I’m not quite sure if another issue is forthcoming. I know that I’d sure like to see another chapter as Quantic and Bonvillain have done a really excellent job of creating something that is unique and fun in a marketplace that could use much more material of this nature. It’s a comic that’s worth seeking out and discovering if you’re looking for something different that will make you smile and tug at your heartstrings at the same time.