About Strange Attractors

View Strange Attractors as a web comic

Since the mid ’70’s Michael Cohen and Mark Sherman have collaborated on numerous projects: bands (The Mighty Chameleons, Buffalo Bop), computer games (ThiefQuest). In 1993 they decided to have a go at self-publishing a comic, encouraged by the success of Dave Sim’s Cerebus. As a starting point, they turned to an unfinished project that Michael had begun a few years earlier, his goofy SF story Strange Attractors.

Expanding from the original premise (Michael’s version was mostly a loving tribute to the early issues of Love and Rockets), they came up with an expansive plot that would encompass many of the themes they found running through their favorite movies, comics and novels.

Strange Attractors #1 appeared in May 1993 and began building a very loyal audience. There are currently 15 issues in print, a trade paperback which collects issues #1-7, and the first 2 parts of a 4 part Caliber mini-series called Moon Fever.

About the Characters

Sophie is the heroine of our book. Not that she’d ever really wanted to be a hero, not the type that runs off into danger anyway. Her taste in heroics runs more towards Nurse Nebula, co-star of Spicy Space Stories, Sophie’s favorite comic. Neb (as she is fondly called) mainly saves lives (when she isn’t pining over her unrequited love for Doctor Quark). Very unlike Sophie’s other comic heroine Pirate Peg (also featured in Spicy Space Stories), who often takes violence as the first and last resort (but only against those deserving it). But now we’ve already strayed far from the topic of this page, which is Sophie.

When our adventure starts Sophie is working in the vast Museum of Lost Things on the asteroid of Sysyphus; endlessly cataloguing the plethora of oddball items that have accumulated there. Except for her robot assistant Roshi, she remains totally isolated from the world, free to indulge in her love of solitude, and her love of comics. She would have remained perfectly content with this arrangement had not fate (or something more devious) intervened.

Sophie is embroiled in an epoch spanning war between magic and science, in which the comics she loves are actually coded histories, and she has somehow become a magnet for all sorts of cosmic weirdness.

Roshi is a lot more than just another cute robot assistant. Victim of an over-active imagination, he fancies himself suited to help out his friend Sophie in any number of capacities, whether he’s qualified or not. He daringly takes on the role of her analyst,her attorney,even her magic-sword wielding protector.

Widow has been Sophie’s best friend since they were kids. Widow’s dad, you see, is none other than H.R. Widhover, the richest man in the Solar System. Sophie was adopted when she was little, and brought up in the fantabulous Widhover mansion.

Mr. Teach, the latest in intructobot technology (though a bit old-fashioned) was Sophie and Widow’s mentor, though they probably learned just as much from the comics they read.Widow was always the better of the two at her lessons, and so, in her late teens she went off to the Rangerette Academy on Callisto, while Sophie was sent to Sisyphus to work in the Museum of Lost Things.Well, things get complicated real fast. Widow becomes engaged to Sophie’s ex- boyfrirend, her father is assasinated, and…..well, we’re not going to give away too much here.

Pirate Peg is the very essence of the adventure hero; brave, loyal, resourceful, and quite likely completely mad. Of course, she’s just a comic character, the heroine of Spicy Space Stories, a comic so dangerous, it is outlawed throughout the Solar system.But she’s also real; a hunted fugitive who hasn’t been seen in years, until she shows up one day in The Museum of Lost Things, and gets poor Sophie embroiled in a galaxy of trouble.

Ah yes, the Moon Marauders! Who hasn’t thrilled to their adventures in the pages of Spicy Space Stories and numerous other comics? How their names are sung in the annals of adventuredom: The Collector, Brigand, Decoder, Klepto, and of course their leader- Pirate Peg!

In hundreds of mind-boggling episodes, they dealt with menaces such as The Meteor Miner and The Phantom Vulture, until one day, in an event that would be known as the Battle of the Black Boot- they were destroyed by Sykharrak and her minions! What became of them, these comic book heroines whose real life counterparts fought against the tyranny of the richest man in the Solar System- H.R. Widhover?

Well, at least two of them are still around, and the one known as The Collector is out for vengeance- against Pirate Peg. And Sophie gets caught up in the middle.

Lucky for Sophie she has the perfect role-model for guidance in times of trouble, her #1 favorite comic heroine Nurse Nebula. Aided by the ever faithful Qwyrf, she appeared as the back-up feature in every issue of Spicy Space Stories, helping those in need throughout the galaxy. If only the handsome Dr. Nicholas Quark cared as much for her, her life would be totally fullfilled.