The Stainless Steel Rat Deluxe Edition
“Stainless Steel Rat”, “Stainless Steel Rat Saves The World” & “Stainless Steel Rat For President”
By Harry Harrison, Kelvin Gosnell & Carlos Ezquerra
Review by Luke Williams
This handsome hardcover collection collects all 3 of 2000ADs adaptations written by former Tharg, Kelvin Gosnell and the legend that is Carlos Ezquerra. For those of us who don’t know the Rat (prior to reading this book that your reviewer would fall into that category) the Stainless Steel rat is otherwise known as “Slippery” James Bolivar Di Griz. In a far future where crime is almost a thing of the past, Jim is a rebel, kicking against authority until authority finally gets the better of him. He is press ganged by Galactic Law Enforcement, Jim is as good getting out of scrapes as he is getting into them, making him an ideal candidate for the “Special Corps”, specialising in high risk, time and space spanning missions.
Through the 3 stories we see Jim tackle interplanetary espionage, corruption, theft, time travelling tyrants, a little bit of politics and most notably the pulchritudinous but lethal Angelina.
Gosnell and Ezquerra, adapt a fun packed world, Jim Di Griz is loveable rogue. A modern comparison in the Prog’ would be Nikolai Dante; someone who is spends less time grimacing and more on wise cracking, robbing you blind with a twinkle in his eye.
Gosnell was 2000ADs second editor after (Uncle) Pat Mills, but by the time the Rat was published in the Prog’ he had gone freelance, writing Future Shocks Time Twisters and went onto write the Oliver Frey painted Terminal Man in legendary computer magazine Zzap64 (Has that ever been collected?)
Never stopping to draw breath, the plot is pacey, the script punchy and witty. Despite being classed as sci fi, this is basically a collection of caper strips with ray guns, space ships and time travel and it’s great fun . Art wise this is classic period Carlos Ezquerra, Carlos’s curvy technology (and Angelina) dynamic layouts and some gorgeous double page spreads. Carlos again uses James Coburn as a template, Jim looking a bit like Major Eazy sans forage cap & cigar but avec cheesy grin.
Rebellion have reprinted colour pages from the centre spreads when the Prog was on toilet paper, but occasionally they have an annoying break in the middle due to the binding process, but that’s a minor complaint. The version that is reviewed was the webshop exclusive version, with a “likely to get dirty quite quickly unless you’re careful” white cover.
If you are a bit sceptical of comic adaptations of novels, (what’s the point etc?), put that to one side. This is old school 2000AD fun, prior knowledge of the character unnecessary. A good fit for the Prog’ fast paced, lots of action and most importantly, humour.
The book is now out of print on the 200AD webstore, but still available digitally or via other online outlets (or so they say anyway).