By Juan Calvillo
Imagine a world where people explain what they are doing, trying to say or thinking– this is Nathan W. Pyle’s “Strange Planet.”
This four chapter graphic novel focuses on life and the things that make it worth living. Pyle delves into childhood, adulthood, friendship and pass times.
“Strange Planet” is about a species of alien life forms that experience the same trials and tribulations that the human species deals with on a daily basis. The difference is that they are experiencing things in real time and talk through the process of what is going on.
For example, if an alien were to play hide and seek, they would call the process of hiding a “small deception.” This is the odd yet hilariously funny world Pyle has created. The humor comes from the explanation of simple tasks or events in life that most wouldn’t think twice about explaining.
Analyzing every action and reaction is where this book truly comes to life. Pyle takes moments that people would otherwise not give importance to and explaining them shows the reader how truly unique every moment in life is. Everything from the simple act of meeting a new pet to celebrating a sunset is given new meaning in this book. Pyle’s book is, for example, like reminiscing about falling in
love for the rst time. People willtalk about that with nostalgia and give details that mean nothing to most, but make perfect sense to the person explaining it.
Pyle uses a perfect blend of humor and sentiment to make every panel of his 144 page book fun and interesting to read. Going into detail of even one of his sets would ruin the entire experience of the book.
“Pyle takes moments that people would otherwise not give importance to and explaining them shows the reader how truly unique every moment in life is.”
The four chapters have unique takes on things involved with those main ideas. For example, in the “Young Beings” sections, Pyle dives into the idea of the aliens having children and guiding them into adulthood. He brings his oddball take on everything from the tooth fairy to graduation.
In “Friendship” and “Recreation,” Pyle takes on things that are constants in life. Things like consoling friends and meeting members of a friend’s family and all the emotion that goes with these are present. Yet, Pyle uses overly descriptive word-play to make even the most heartfelt moment laugh-out-loud funny.
In “Adulthood,” things as simple as drinking coffee make an appearance in the novel. This simple act is made into an odd yet obvious experience. Coffee drinkers will read the pages and laugh at the obviousness of the situation and description. Of course, Pyle includes some more emotional intense moments in this section, but the wit he uses to describe them makes even intense scenes like that bearable and humorous to read.
Pyle’s artwork may seem simple at the onset, but as the novel progresses, its style is perfectlyre ective of the story. The artworkstrives to show complex things in the most straightforward and simple way. No frills; and the book is better for it.
Pyle has created a funny version of people’s everyday life and has succeeded in making aliens more relatable than any version seen in media to date. “Strange Planet” is published by Morrow Gift, an imprint of William Morrow. It is available now in a hardcover version and the Kindle digital version and retails for $14.99 at most bookstores, $8.99 hardcover $10.99 on Kindle at Amazon.