Bit at Large
Theron Gibbons
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Get *Bit at Large* delivered to your door! Bit at Large
Theron Gibbons
illus. Christy A. Moeller-Masel
Elucid Press
December 2000
243 pages
rated 2 of 5 possible stars

The philosophy of publisher Elucid Press is, in part, that they "are sick of seeing the same old stuff rehashed, to see genre and formula comic and graphic fiction churned out in unending torrents by conglomerate giants who can't deviate for fear of taking a loss in profit." With Theron Gibbons' Bit at Large the folks at Elucid put their money where their mission statement is -- this comic romantic fantasy throws angelic, elfin and alien subgenres in a blender and hits the "liquify" button. Done well, such an outsider ethic can produce really entertaining farcical prose. Less than that and the reader is left bewildered and dissatisfied. Unfortunately, Bit at Large falls toward the latter end of the spectrum.

Young angel Bit, the daughter of creator-of-the-universe/father-figure Wisdom and his alter-ego/leather-winged female counterpart Tester, wants nothing more than to be the perfect guardian to her girl Tiffany. Too bad that Tiffany's life circumstances forbid any sort of happily-ever-after ending. Tiffany, kidnapped in infancy, belongs to an Asian drug lord, whom she serves (and services) as concubine. Bit does what she can to make Tiffany's lot more tolerable, when Tester visits the young angel with a change in plans. It seems Bit -- and Tiffany's -- destiny is to save Earth and humanity from an invasion by an insectoid alien collective known as the Scandivat.

Tiffany's master sells her to the highest bidder, and while Tiffany meets her new husband-to-be, Kotian, Bit begins to fall in love with Kotian's guardian angel, Fluff. The Governor of the protective Forever Children (one per sentient species per planet, please) has died, and Kotian and Tiffany are to take his place. In the process, Bit is reborn as the human couple's daughter, putting in her in the oddly opposing positions of custodian and custodial responsibility. War changes everything, as war does. Bit becomes a pirate, her parents are killed, her parents are resurrected, she loses Fluff to an Elven princess, she battles a Scandivat ship and gains an alien Hunter as a friend and first mate. An ambitious Elven prince has allied with the Scandivat and hopes to annihilate all other races, including human and angelic. Only Bit can stop him, and she'll get no other help, for she has become the last angel.

Bit at Large as a narrative exhibits serious attention-deficit disorder. Forget foreshadowing; the plot is vague, the action often incomprehensible, and the universe in which the story takes place makes up its own rules as it goes along. Bit is the bright spot; a mischievous mix of naivete and worldliness, she's a demonic-looking little angel with spunk. The illustrations by Christy A. Moeller-Maisel sprinkled throughout are perfect. In fact the whole thing might do better with many more illustrations by Moeller-Maisel; there's no lack of dialogue in Bit at Large, and its quirky-bordering-on-bizarre story would fit a graphic novel of the Dark Horse variety. Elucid Press, which publishes the Infested comics, might do better to stick with that format for its writers.

© 2001 by Sharon Schulz-Elsing for Curled Up With a Good Book

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