Mary Tyler MooreHawk by Dave Baker

OMG, that was so hard to read on digital, friends, get the physical copy! This was such a good book, but such a challenge for me to read on a screen when the text abruptly switched to white on a dark background, given my astigmatism. It was absolutely worthwhile tho!

Mary Tyler MooreHawk starts out as an all-ages futuristic sci-fi comic a la Jonny Quest, featuring the titular character as she and her family travel the universe, seeking to stop evildoers and their terrible plans for galactic dominion. Mary has a sentient robot brother named Cutie Boy, whom she loves even tho he can be annoying at times; a strained relationship with her stepmother Meredith Moorehawk-Cho, and a devoted bodyguard in the form of Roxanne “Roxy” Racer. As believers in super science, they’re committed to building better tomorrows for all people. Along the way, they’ve picked up plenty of allies but also many deadly enemies, including Dr Zebra, the arch-nemesis of Mary’s late mom, Roseanne MooreHawk. Drs MooreHawk and Zebra allegedly perished together while struggling over an Einstein-Rosen bridge… but what is death really in the face of super science?

Interspersed with these comics, featuring an exhausting number of supporting cast members and done mostly in black and pinks, are curious prose and photography chapters that purport to be articles from a magazine called The Physicalist. These articles gradually build a picture of a dystopian future where corporations were granted full rights as people and the subsequent atrocities, some worse than others, committed therefrom. The story of Mary Tyler MooreHawk was made into a live-action show broadcast on dishwashers, as few people had televisions after the purges that rid most people of physical belongings, books and comics included. The show enraptured many, including the members of the Physicalist movement, who care about physical objects as being more than purportedly useless vanity.

One such is reporter Dave Baker, a Physicalist who discovers that he has the same name as the person who created MTMH. He goes on an epic quest not only to cover every aspect of the creation and broadcast of the show, but also to find out whether the rumors are true: that the other Dave Baker might actually still be alive. These nested stories make for a mind-bender of a novel, as our reality’s Dave Baker expertly shows how horseshoe theory is real, while also juxtaposing the kindness and naivete of Mary vs the more skeptical inhabitants of the “real” world in which her story is told. It is both A Lot and The Perfect Amount, and to say any more would be to give too much away.

I will, however, give away (behind spoiler tags, ofc! Because this is also huge spoilers for what happens) the uncorrected text of the ciphered letter included at the end of the book. If you have the bandwidth to decipher it yourself, please do, because ciphers are fun! That said, I would have been desperately grateful for this translation after staring blearily at my PC screen for hours, so here you go if you haven’t the time and energy to do it yourself (highlight to reveal the translated, uncorrected text):

What you have just read is only a partial truth. The jounalist Dave Baker has been lying to you. The book you hold in your hands was indeed sent from the future. However, it was not sent to rewrite the timeline by Dave Baker.

It was sent here to rob Dave Baker of his creaton. We have a theory that the jounalist Dave Baker is going to pass off MTMH as his own. We must stop this. Here. now. In the past. MTMH needs you.

Dave Baker needs you.

You have been conscrpted into the ninet printing army.

The white lettering on black backgrounds that plagued me aside, the colors and layouts were fabulous, tho some of the linework for MTMH’s supporting cast does tend to get a little same-y — unsurprising given the vast numbers of them! This is definitely a book for people who love inventive, perhaps even literary, definitely dystopian sci-fi.

Mary Tyler MooreHawk by Dave Baker was published February 13 2024 by Top Shelf Productions and is available from all good booksellers, including

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