*Halo and Sprocket — Recommended

Halo, an angel, has been assigned to help robot Sprocket learn about humanity from Katie, their regular girl roommate. This simple premise has immediate appeal. It’s used to create modern fables that explore philosophical issues in a very entertaining way, resulting in one of the funniest comics I’ve ever read.

Halo and Sprocket cover
Halo and Sprocket
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The first story is a great example, discussing optimism and pessimism using the traditional question of whether a glass is half empty or half full. Sprocket’s answer is unexpectedly funny due to its unarguable logic; the robot’s literalism is well-used throughout the book to great humorous effect. Halo represents spirituality, aware of the metaphysics in all things, and also possesses an amusing view of our history and motivations. Katie provides all the contradictions, uncertainties, and fuzzy bits that fill out life.

The author fills these stories with imagination and wit, and the cartoony style is immediately appealing. Thick, confident lines are used to build just the right expression or action. One scene where Sprocket hangs its head saying (in small letters) “you disappoint me, Katie” had me laughing out loud at the perfect capture of what a robot’s pity would look like. In another story, when Sprocket wants to show emotion even though its features don’t move, duct tape comes in handy to provide facial expressions. I wound up thinking not only about visual expression and emotion but also the nature of overreaction.

One of the best stories has the group visit an art show and ponder the nature of aesthetics. Callen provides a wide variety of illustrated examples of the way people interact with and create art, whether realistic or conceptual. Other stories deal with names and how they affect perception, the laziness involved in using a mechanized lollypop (and what people find gross), and Sprocket’s confusion at how humans deal with logic and mathematical paradoxes. The story featuring a visit from a crude handyman shows how Katie’s housemates can bring benefits to her life as well as complications.

The series is mind-blowing and funny without ever being pretentious or boring. In a weird way, it’s like Sesame Street for adults: so entertaining the education slips in without notice. It’s whimsical fun with a tremendous amount of insight into human nature and psychology. The philosophical ponderings and metaphysical humor are terrific.

The Halo and Sprocket website has a sample story and art gallery, plus some comic strips with the characters. T-shirts can be ordered from Slave Labor’s web store.

7 Responses to “*Halo and Sprocket — Recommended”

  1. Dave Lartigue Says:

    I LOVE Halo and Sprocket. It is hilarious and charming, and I wish more books would come out!

  2. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Lots of relists from small publishers this month, as everyone plans to recover from convention season. For the non-traveling reader, that means it’s a good time to check out titles you may have missed earlier. I particularly recommend Halo & Sprocket (Amaze Ink/Slave Labor, $12.95, JUN06 2811), one of my ten all-time favorite comics. […]

  3. Why I Love Comics » Blog Archive » 35 Books in 30 Days 9-15: The Big Pile That Hasn’t Been Read 1 Says:

    […] If you really need a jump-on place, why not hop over to lightspeedpress.com and read the webcomic? You can get the first 69 pages (as of this writing) for free.Halo & Sprocket Vol 1: Welcome To Humanity TPI bought this book solely because of Johanna Draper Carlson’s review. It’s one of her ten favorite comics. That’s good enough for me. […]

  4. Halo & Sprocket to Return | K-Squared Ramblings Says:

    […] website has several stories online. Comics Worth Reading has a review of the first collection, Halo & Sprocket: Welcome to Humanity, which I highly […]

  5. Next Halo and Sprocket Due Next Year » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Via K2 Ramblings comes some exciting news about one of my all-time favorites, Halo and Sprocket: […]

  6. Halo and Sprocket Available for Pre-Order » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Halo and Sprocket is one of my very favorite comic series. […]

  7. *Halo and Sprocket: Natural Causes — Recommended » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] very happy to see Halo and Sprocket return with an all-new graphic novel. The characters — the robot Sprocket, the angel Halo, […]




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