Scott McCloud made a name for himself via his trilogy of non-fiction graphic novels examining the reality and philosophy of visual storytelling — but before that, there was Zot!.
Originally published in 1987, Jenny Weaver, the character we follow, lives a life contemporary to that time in a world imperfect and disappointing. Across a portal lives Zachary T. Paleozogt, a blonde hero with rocket boots and a ten-shooter laser gun, who exists in 1965. His permanently 1965 world is very different, a futuristic Earth, a utopia of flying cars and robot butlers. It is when Jenny and Zot start crossing through the portal into each other’s worlds that core differences become apparent.
Collected this award-winning series into one volume, Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection is an astonishing comparison of the futuristic world promised in the golden age of science fiction and the hard realities of living in the late-80’s. Zot! also holds the status of being the first substantial bridge between American alternative comics, traditional hero-based comics and Japanese manga as it drew on elements from all three genres. McCloud holds Astro Boy creator Osama Tezuka, the man generally considered to be the father of manga, as his key influence in the creation of the story. While Zot! may not be right for everyone, it is a prime example of how great comics can be when they are done right.