Callum Waterhouse ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
A Different Kind of Hero:
A Review of Steven Universe #1
Written by Melanie Gillman
Illustrated by Katy Farina
Talking about the new Steven Universe comic book series by BOOM Studio’s new Kaboom! imprint is strange. On the one hand, a Steven Universe comic tie-in was inevitable. The
show, which is currently airing its fourth season on Cartoon Network, has exploded in popularity and with all the merchandising involved, a monthly comic book was the next logical step.
On the other hand, it feels shocking both that a comic book tie-in for a highly marketable children’s television series can become the launching pad for fresh talent in the comic industry and that there is enough depth in the material to cover said chi
ldren’s comic with the same intellectual bent as we try to do everything else. This was not a thing that happened five years ago, but here’s hoping it stays that way.
Steven Universe is about a young boy with superpowers who was raised by a female-presenting aliens and follows his adventures as he learns of his abilities and saves the world. It should be noted that the comic is targeted at those who are already familiar with the story and characters as it drops readers into a series of established relationships without giving much background. One minor gripe is that this comic could have benefited from a one page backstory dump to get newcomers up to speed, similar to what Marvel includes in all of their monthly solo titles.
As for established fans of the show, your mileage is going to vary for this one. Steven Universe has always been popular for its whimsical humor and relatable characters, but a sizable portion of the fanbase loves it for its intense emotional moments and exploration of complex social themes. Given that the target audience of the Kaboom! imprint tends to skew ten years old or younger, it should not be surprising that issue #1 focuses exclusively on the lighter themes. Make no mistake, Gillman and Farina have captured this aspect of the show with artistry to spare, but there are going to be adult fans of the show who will finish this comic feeling like they have walked in on the wrong cartoon.
Minor gripes aside, there could not have been a better pairing of artist and material than Melanie Gillman. Gilman is a cartoonist we at Emertainment have been keeping
an eye on for a long time, and it is great to see them being given the reins of such a high profile project. Both through their work and on Twitter, Gilman expresses a love of the simple, everyday beauty of the natural world, and the story of Steven, alongside fan favorites Lapis and Peridot, taking care of an abandoned baby bird perfectly captures the show’s sense of wonder at the simple moments of life.
Katy Farina is another rising star this comic will hopefully put on the map. We can honestly not say enough about how well her illustrations match and compliment the story and characters.
While it might not be the rollicking action piece many fans were hoping for, issue #1 of Steven Universe is a sure sign of great things to come. For fans of the show, it is a must buy.