I first came across Bad Space Comics on subreddit r/scifi where user u/Soulless_conner posted the comic dubbed The Suit. In this comic an astronaut stranded in a hostile planet depends on their space suit’s AI to gather food and drink for them. This takes a shocking twist as the suit starts having to resort to more and more drastic sacrifices off the body of the astronaut wearing it.
As I read this I was completely horrified but also fascinated. This was a really well made piece of science fiction/horror just floating around the internet. Thankfully, the reddit post linked the instagram account handle (@badspacecomics) which I went on after coming down from the shock. I was happy to find the account already had tens of posts, each a 10-panel long comic. After reading through all of them I decided to contact the creator via the account’s linked website (badspacecomics.com) and inquire about a possible interview feature for SP. I was responded to a few days later by Scott Base who was actually a fan of Sequential Planet’s and happy to schedule some time to talk.
Scott Base is a comic book creator from New Zealand who’s been playing around with writing and drawing comics ever since he was a kid. He’s always dabbled here or there, having had the opportunity to produce comics for some of his day jobs as well as having a participation in New Zealand’s comic anthology magazine Faction Comics.
Scott mentioned he’s tried to work on a graphic novel of his own but realized that the longer, physical format requires a lot of work and compromise which he couldn’t provide at the moment. Due to this fact, the artist opted to publish on a IG account short comics which would provide an outlet for his artwork as well as keep him engaged with a continuous project of his own. “I wanted people to read my stuff. The whole point of drawing and writing is that other people will hear your ideas” – he says – “I’m gonna experiment with a couple ideas that’ve been bugging me and I want to get them out”. This was a conflicting choice of medium for his work since Scott has had bad experiences with social media toxicity and trolls. He opted to publish under a pen name in order to solve the exposure issue.
This personal drive motivated Scott to work on stuff he himself thought was instigating and to draw inspiration from his day-to-day life. This provides a varied range of thematics approached by his comics such as space exploration but also environmental crisis and proto-fascist governments of current days. This mix of bleak and hopeful themes paired with the short format perfect for its chosen vehicle reminded me of great Brazilian cartoonists whose works I was assigned to break down when I was in high school. For me, Scott’s choice of publishing is the most fascinating aspect of his work because it seems like the perfect evolution of newspaper cartoons for our digital oriented days which I think is only fitting since his work often comments on what the future may hold for human kind.
However, another highlight of Bad Space Comics is its commitment to the science fiction genre. Scott is a huge sci-fi aficionado and draws a lot of inspiration from actual scientific articles. “I’m buzzing! Just before this, I just found an article online which mentions that RNA could form spontaneously in certain situations”. This passion applied to his work brings about what I think is the best about sci-fi: spreading actual scientific knowledge in form of fiction. Granted, one must take said knowledge with a pinch of salt but the purist in Scott makes an effort to keep things as realistic as possible. “No sound in space, in my comics!”, he says jokingly.
Scott briefly commented on how the illustration of his comics is mostly utilitarian to get his ideas out. Nonetheless – and I let him know this – I think the drawings in Bad Space Comics complement the bleak and realistic themes of the series beautifully. Since it leans more towards the photo realistic style, Scott’s illustrations perfectly convey the severity of the scenarios in his comics.
As of the writing of this feature Scott has recently released a companion piece to one of his comics, The Last President – a dystopia about an extreme conservative president taking over presidency in the USA. I inquired if this was always in the original concept for the comic, he responded that, yes but the whole idea didn’t quite fit the format. “Here’s a negative view of the world. And here’s how we get out of it. I didn’t feel like the negative view was enough”. Another one of these adapted ideas is yet to be released which is a sequel to Grounded which shows a distant future where birds evolved to be the intelligent dominant race of Earth.
After what felt like only a few minutes I had to let Scott go but I got to ask about his future projects. He’s currently got a Patreon set for the Bad Space Comics project (patreon.com/badspacecomics) and intends on compiling a physical release with new comics in it. I cannot recommend going over these comics enough. Scott is very passionate about his work and it shows and these deserve the audience. They’re masterfully crafted pieces of sci-fi which are available for free! Go check them out!