Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The Dog Star.

Read Nick Abadiz's fictionalised story of the life of Laika the space dog and the early days of the Sputnik experiments of man's fledgling steps in space travel. Russian man's to be specific. It is that and so much more. Nick Abadzis's grpahic storytelling and entiely human blend of words and pictures gives the story a sweep and grandeur you do not even see in modern film making. It felt like one of those amazing epic movies by David Lean like Lawrence Of Arabia or Dr Zhivago. A big human tale of ambition and desire and drive as well as a deeply moving account of the probable life of a little dog that was sacrificed on the alter of political and scientific ambition. A little stray that was plucked from the mean streets and transfered to a research facility where survival was an experimental lottery. It is a fantastic story fantastically realised using the very strengths of the graphic medium. It is great storytelling done with great skill and charm.ll the characters seem so fully rounded and real including the dog star itself.
              The understated but very strong emotions at play amongst the central characters are very engaging and believable. As are the vast egos and ambitions at play driving the space program. Wrestling support in the space program from the communist party and leaders by tugging the jingoistic threads that bind Russia's and America's space ambitions together is a clever move that buys breathing space,time and encouragement. Yet we never lose sight of the hard working and basically decent figures at the support level who succeed at pushing their ideas forward without hope of receiving the recognition and respect their efforts deserve, tiny cogs in the Soviet state machine.
               Always the story returns to Laika(Or Kudryavka which was her actual name. )The patience and dignity with which she endures the many lab tests on her constitution fueled by her affection and respect for her handlers and her infectious good nature and playful optimism as demonstrated by Nick Abadzis finely honed craft as a storyteller.
                A terrific read and a real keeper.