Writer: Joshua Saxon
Artist: Gian Fernando
Joshua Saxon Comics, 2021
What if crocodilian aliens lead by a being called Lord Moofu invaded England looking to kidnap Earth girls, but were vulnerable to cow’s milk?
Such is the zany proposition behind Milky, an independently published comic book from writer Joshua Saxon and with strong art from Gian Fernando. (Another reviewer https://pipedreamcomics.co.uk/review-milky-1-2-joshua-saxon-comics/noticed that Gian Fernando’s artwork is reminiscent of that of Bryan Hitch – a complimentary and accurate comparison.)
The story is on many levels designed for motion picture adaption. There is an underdog romance, a likeable hero named Vikinder Singh (known as Milky), and aliens, after all. But not for Hollywood. The particularly open British racial tension around South Asian immigration into urban English towns and cities (here, a place with the very English name “Crafton Hills”) is something an American audience would not easily understand. And who outside of the United Kingdom understands what a milk float is, and why fresh milk would be delivered to one’s door? Any film based upon this comic would be more along the lines of World’s End than Independence Day.
And there is something faintly ridiculous and British about the emphasis upon milk in this story. We suspect some significant thought went into the subject matter. At best, milk is going to trouble the lactose intolerant. It is the stuff which babies drink and which is spilt into tea or coffee. It isn’t as macho as whiskey, nor as solidly working class as beer, nor as living-giving as water. Milk is bland, not heroic, like Milky. And, of course, milk is white, but Milky is brown.
There are surprisingly many possible interpretations to this comic. Is the title anti-capitalist? The big supermarket chain has moved into town, and Milky finds himself running out of business. Does the invasion of the alien monsters represent the destruction of a smaller, quieter, more community-orientated way of life? Or, is the title pro-Brexit, where the monsters are Brussels and the heroes are the Brits with their hangered aircraft, calling upon the spirit of the Battle of Britain to resist alien invasion? (Given the multicultural subtext, that seems very unlikely.)
Milky himself is a likeable character. It is not just the awkward orbit around his would-be sweetheart, local pharmacist, Lucy Bell (which is brilliantly executed – Milky is hopelessly in love), but the fact that he tolerates racism from those who seem too old to change their mindset. And then there is a sympathetic turn when the cranky old hag, Mrs Boggins, who is thoroughly racist, is revealed as bitter and sad because decades later she mourns the death of her husband. Some people buckle under intense stress., and some people become thixotropic, when a liquid hardens when out under pressure. Mrs Boggins is revealed as being of the later variety. The crisis makes her throw off her grief and rotten attitude, to become resourceful and helpful. The truly awful have their reasons, and this story suggests that anyone can redeem themselves. It has a positive message about the human condition, unexpectedly hidden beneath a story about Lord Moofu and his band of toothy, evil aliens snatching women.
(On a personal note, your reviewer decided to indulge himself and buy a cameo in the story. A decidedly youthful version appears on the last page of issue 3. My thanks for the kindly rendition.)
Milky was the subject of a successful Kickstarter campaign and is now available on Comixology: https://www.comixology.eu/Milky-1/digital-comic/791104