I’ve been a fan of Tom Dell’Aringa’s work from the moment I laid eyes on his comic “Marooned.”  It started off life as a little comic about a stranded space man on Mars and his robot sidekick, and it was funny and quirky.  But almost right away, you could feel that wasn’t enough for Tom. A deeper story began to weave it’s way in, a mystery began to unfold right in front of you as you read.  Tom himself needed more than just a one-note, gag-a-day strip, and it went from just that, to something gloriously more complex.

“Marooned” had a great run, and the mythology and history behind it that Tom meticulously developed obviously whetted his appetite for something deeper.  As perhaps the simplicity of a book like “The Hobbit” begat the vastly more rich and complex “Lord of the Rings,”  “Marooned” seems to have lead to “Rock and Tin.”   Perhaps not directly, but certainly in spirit.

If there’s ever any doubt that comics can appeal on levels from the simplest viewing of the art all the way to deep, philosophical, moral, and existential discussions, then look no further than “Rock and Tin.”  A story that spans centuries, with complex characters with complex relationships, “Rock and Tin” is an engrossing story that has a tone uniquely its own.  It starts with a prose section that sets the scene and gives some 500 years worth of background, before turning into a fully illustrated graphic novel.  With every page, you learn more and better yet, you WANT to learn more.  Tom’s art is deceptively detailed in its simplicity, with powerful and cinematic layouts.  The foundations he started with “Marooned” are built on beautifully; you won’t see a lot of comics that use areas of black and white as effective as “Rock and Tin.”

It’s the kind of story that young readers will devour as a terrific introduction to thoughtful, deep science fiction, and one that adults will truly enjoy and become engrossed in.  That’s no easy task, that.

The appendices are also filled with terrific “making of” sketches of characters, vehicles and environments that show you just how much time Tom put into this world.  Can’t recommend this enough for your budding sci-fi reader, or anyone interested in a great story told by an artist at the top of his very unique game.

You can support his Kickstarter and get your own copy right here.