Xenozoic by Mark Schultz (graphic novel review).

I saw some of Mark Schultz’s work in an interview with him in one of TwoMorrows magazines, noting to pull one of his graphic novels and grabbed a copy of ‘Xenozoic’ from the long river website. It is also a second edition and no sign of volume 2.

‘Xenozoic’ is set in a future post-global ecological cataclysm world that mixes the dregs of humanity with dinosaurs and cadillacs. I did say cadillics, although principally they belong to adventurer and an Old Blood Mechanic Jack ‘Cadillac’ Tenroc only we don’t really meet him at first. That honour goes to Hannah Dundee, princess and ambassador of the Wassoon who visits the north and what remains of New York and North America called the Xenozoic and stays on and joins in on Tenroc’s adventures.

We have some 20 black and white tales here, often showing the folly of particular members of mankind.

Although Tenroc is something of the glue of the Xenozoic, the stories take a nasty turn when there is a political revolution and, rescued by Hannah, is forced to flee to the Wassoon and we literally see how the other half lives and his equivalent, Balclutha, whom he regards as a poacher as he kills for the hunt for more than the need for meat.

An ‘Old Blood Mechanic’ isn’t defined directly but can be taken to be someone with old technology skills back as far as our century. Tenroc is especially good at maintaining after his collection of cars but also sensitive to the animals in their habitat which seems a contradiction in terms. Then again, we haven’t seen all of these societies and you do have to wonder how they all became so well educated in some things and hopeless in others. Then again, we’re also not shown how dinosaurs came back neither. Even so, Schultz has obviously spent a lot of time developing this reality and no doubt we’ll see more of it as the stories progress.

The art has touches of Wallace Wood and Al Williamson and other styles in this work but Mark Schultz is a master storyteller producing likeable and not so likeable characters and a riveting read. I read half the book in one sitting and felt myself spoilt, slowing down for the remainder. Schultz doesn’t appear to have taken stereotypes of existing characters in his creations and there’s nary a romance yet between Hannah and Tenroc which is quite refreshing.

Obviously, at some point something is likely to change but there is no rush into it. The art alone is a great craft and stories with dinosaurs always has a market. Worth looking out for and likely to brighten any mood.

GF Willmetts

June 2022

(pub: Flesk, 2022. 349 page graphic novel softcover. Price: I pulled my copy for about £20.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-64041-037-4)

check out website: www.fleskpublications.com


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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