The volume of Space Raoul put out by SLG Publishing is a collection of strips that appeared in The Funday Times (a comics supplement to the Sunday Times) and The Dandy, a UK comic magazine. There’s definintely a British sensibility to the strips, and given the original venues, the work is all-ages — which might not necessarily be expected from SLG, the home of comics like Johnny The Homicidal Maniac — however it’s a very smart comic, which SHOULD be expected from SLG.
Space Raoul is about a space-faring hero (who looks kind of like a pink kitty with bubble-pipe and top hat), and his sidekick, Quibble (a little green bean-ish looking kind of alien). Raoul is neither super-compentent nor incompetent, the two typical modes for these sorts of comics. In fact, the question of competence when it comes to Space Raoul seems rather sideways. Raoul basically just sort of IS when it comes to his missions, and sometimes they work out, sometimes they don’t, and that’s fine. It doesn’t particularly seem to matter, which is an interesting way of telling a story — but it works.
Smart’s art is somewhat similar to Jhonen Vasquez‘ style — less the style of the aforementioned JTHM, but the cleaner-but-still-somewhat-cluttered-but-still-cleanly-so version that was in the animated series Invader Zim. But, hey, it’s a good style, so hey, why not? It helps that Smart’s writing is nothing like Vasquez’ at all, so there’s no sense of Smart being a rip-off; I’m thinking that it’s more a case of development of similar styles — I would bet Smart counts Vasquez as an influence, but not a sole one.
The Space Raoul volume is a bit slim, and I was kind of hoping for more — though I believe the strip is basically dead, at least for the time being. However, Smart’s working on a new comic series, Ubu Bubu, also put out by SLG; I haven’t seen any issues of that yet, though Space Raoul makes me interested in it. And there’s always something to be said for titles that have a word with three consecutive vowels.