Captain Gravity and the Power of the Vril

Like many readers, I’m not very familiar with the publications of the relatively new Penny Farthing Press… but if Captain Gravity and the Power of the Vril is anything to go by, I’ll be watching for more.

Captain Gravity and the Power of the Vril cover
Captain Gravity
and the Power of the Vril
Buy this book

The first thing I noticed was how handsome the book was. Substantial cover stock, well-designed, with flaps and thick interior paper makes this collection nicely heavy in the hand. The contents are also attractive, with slick, professional art by Sal Velluto and Bob Almond and a slam-bang adventure story written by Joshua Dysart.

It’s 1939 in Hollywood, and when he’s not saving people as Captain Gravity, Joshua Jones works on movie sets. His best friend, actress Chase Dubois, has taken up with a German, leading to squabbles between the two. Soon, it’s globe-trotting adventure involving American agents, Nazis, a spy named Ian Fleming, archeological investigations of the swastika, and mystic ceremonies.

One of the elements that set this apart for me was the character of Joshua. As a black man, he experiences less prejudice in the wide-open town of Hollywood than he would back in his hometown Mississippi, but it’s still there, and it lends a bit of shadow to his adventures. As a high concept, the story is “Indiana Jones meets the Rocketeer”, and in execution, it’s a rollicking read.

(A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)


11 Responses to “Captain Gravity and the Power of the Vril”

  1. Nat Gertler Says:

    I’m not sure that Penny-Farthing is “relatively new” in any reasonable meaning of the term so much as they have been flying under many people’s radar. As their website points out, they’ve been around since 1998.

  2. Jim Perreault Says:

    And in fact, this is the second Captain Gravity series. The first one was published I think in 1998.

    They’ve pubished other books, but Gravity is the only one I’ve picked up.

    Their series “The Victorian” has also been published for a while, but it was not my cup of tea.

    They had a nice booth at SPX last year. They gave out free copies of a book called “Zendra” which really surprised me. It looked like a typical T&A SF series, but it was actually pretty well done. They also had a preview of something that was absolutely gorgeous, but I’m blanking on the name.

  3. Lyle Masaki Says:

    PF had another series when they first started out that I found to be cute, Decoy was about a cop and a shape shifting alien. Familiar formula, but cutely done. I lost track of the series after a third miniseries was started, a crossover with another company’s character, but I forget who.

  4. Johanna Says:

    Looks like that was Herobear and the Kid, Lyle.

  5. Lyle Masaki Says:

    Ah, that’s right, I thought it was something with a rep for lateness. I had the first issue (cute) but I don’t know if the second issue ever came out.

  6. Tim O'Shea Says:

    Victorian was scripted by Len Wein for several issues. I’ve interviewed a few PFP folks over the years. In fact, I interviewed the Gravity art team about this project back in late 2004
    http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/news/11013930728317.htm

  7. Captain Gravity and the Power of the Vril — A Book Readers blog Says:

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  8. Jim Perreault Says:

    I’ve finally found the preview that they were giving out. It is called “Anne Steelyard: The Garden of Emptiness.” I wonder if it ever came out.

  9. Tim O'Shea Says:

    According to the author’s site (http://www.barbarahambly.com/haspeak.htm)

    “I wish I could announce a release-date on the first of the Anne Steelyard graphic novels, but Pennyfarthing has sent me no information so far.”

    And they were still giving out previews as of February 2007 (http://www.pfpress.com/home.news/newsId/101.htm)

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