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Gray Spa: The Gray Zone
Roger L. Phillips
Close Encounters Studios Inc., 142 pages

Gray Spa: The Gray Zone
Roger L. Phillips
Roger L. Phillips is a product designer and illustrator with over 19 years of experience working in the creative field. The idea for the Close Encounters Series came from his father who is an avid astronomer and science fiction enthusiast.

Close Encounters Studios
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Gray Rights

A review by Sandra Scholes

If we thought we were alone in the universe we would be wrong, especially with this book of close encounters of the humorous kind. If the first cover image doesn't get you laughing your socks off -- the rest of the book will. With over 200 gag comics inside, it's the thickness of a graphic novel we have come to expect from Close Encounters Studios. As far as the book is concerned, the cover is of thick, quality card with a memorable cover and text that looks like it's been done on an old typewriter for comic effect (remember the The X-Files?).

Close Encounters Studios is the home of the Gray Zone and is not beyond making some interesting parodies, at least for Roger L. Phillips. Like in the first book, he has continued his comic portraits of popular celebrity and historical figures, turning them into aliens by changing part of their name to house 'gray' in their title; Graybeard and Gray Leno are some of the examples. The cartoons follow a pattern and are mainly of flying saucers and what happens to the aliens in each comedic instance. The humour is in how they get into the scrapes they do, and some will have readers in stitches.

One alien's interpretation of a 'baby wipe' is another example of how not to clean the windscreen of a flying saucer, aliens using their tractor beams to suck up some nice Christmas presents from a chimney before the 25th, and why sneezing in a flying saucer has its downside, as well as a gray cop on duty getting more than he bargained for. Not that it's all saucers, Phillips has a good poke at sci-fi series such as Star Trek classic and Star Wars with equal vigour, other popular TV series and fairy tale characters are the subject of his jokes and one-liners.

The Gray Zone is the continuation of two years' worth of work where at first avid readers wondered whether his material would last a few months or more. It's no surprise at all that Phillips continued his alien cartoons as they are fun to read and the punch lines at the end hilarious. The art is a mixture of line work both bold and light with a little shading to make it look more realistic.

For those who can't wait to read more comics on line, Phillips does have a website:

Copyright © 2014 Sandra Scholes

Sandra has been getting into origami of late and might post up a few pics of her paper folding, then again, they aren't good enough -- so she might decide to continue reviewing Japanese things on Japan Reviews, Active Anime and Diverse Japan.

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