A comiXologist Recommends:
Harris Smith recommends Low #1
The best science fiction is a measured balance of concept and idea. The concept is the hook, it draws the reader in with its inventiveness. The idea is what gives a good science fiction story resonance. Planet of the Apes, Logan’s Run and X-Men all have great sci-fi concepts: a future where apes have evolved beyond humans, a futuristic society that kills off anyone over the age of 30, a group of teenagers born with metahuman abilities. No doubt these clever stories are what initially drew readers and viewers in, but these three concepts have strong ideas behind them that have continued to reverberate with readers for decades: a treatise on evolution and man’s inhumanity to man, an indictment of youth-obsessed culture, an allegory for racial prejudice.
Rick Remender's new comic, Low, has both concept and idea. The concept is overflowing with imagination (would we expect anything less from the creator of Franke-Castle?): in the future, an expanding sun has doomed the human race and driven them underwater, where they live in an encapsulated city besieged by “Road Warrior”-esque pirates and scavengers. The idea, meanwhile, is universal- how do we find hope in the face of the inevitability of death, in this case the knowledge that the sun will soon engulf the Earth? Remender sets this heady existential question, one that’s plagued philosophers from Kirkegaard to Ernest Becker, within an exciting, colorful universe, a world replete with majestic fantasy landscapes and riotous underwater battle sequences. It’s a perfect blend of concept and idea tied together with the vision of a true artist and highlighted with masterfully evocative artwork by Greg Tocchini. High-minded ideas and aristry aside, Remender really knows how to tell a story and this first issue left me genuinely excited, maybe even a little anxious, to find out what happens next.
Harris Smith is a Brooklyn-based comics and media professional. In addition to his role as a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology, he edits several comics anthologies, including Jeans and Felony Comics, under the banner of Negative Pleasure Publications. He’s also the host of the weekly radio show Neagtive Pleasure on Newtown Radio.
We’re live-tweeting from Comic-Con International 2014 with tons of Con goings-on. Just follow our twitter to see our little corner of SDCC.
Elle Peterssen is young, wealthy, and beautiful - and there is a reason someone tried to kill her. Only, Elle doesn’t remember any of this. MIND THE GAP, the new series by the Eisner Award-winning writer JIM McCANN (Return of the Dapper Men), is a mystery with a paranormal twist. Elle, in a spirit form detached from her comatose body, must not only unravel the mystery of her attacker’s identity and motive but her entire life as well. Who can she trust, in both this word and in the gap she exists in that lies between life and death? Filled with twists and turns, Elle’s life isn’t the only one turned upside down by the attack on her life. Deceit, secrets, and hidden agendas are everywhere in a story where everyone is a suspect, and no one is innocent. USAToday hails it as an “anxiously anticipated modern thriller.”
TOMORROW (July 2nd, 2014 — so it might be TODAY when you read this or yesterday or years ago!) brings the release of Tech Jacket #1 the all-new series drawn by kharyrandolph, written by me, colored by David McCaig + Emilio Lopez and lettered by Russ Wooten, published by Image Comics’ Skybound, created by The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman and artist EJ Su!
This is Khary and me doing, as he’s put it, “a Saturday Morning cartoon with the budget of Akira.” This is our exponentially more-and-more-out-there science-fiction blockbuster. What happens when the Saturday Morning cartoon blockbuster grows up? We put Zack up against something his Tech Jacket is powerless to do anything about, something bigger than he’s ever dealt with before. Something older than our own galaxy.
This week also sees the release of the tradepaperback containing both the previous work by Kirkman, Aubrey Sitterson and EJ Su and the digital first mini-series Khary and I did. You can enjoy #1 without having ever read a comic book in your life, but if you read the previous work, there’s a lot of ground laid for the year of the sci-fi action book of our dreams to come.
The future is NOW! Tech Jacket #1 is IN-STORES!! Go go go!!!
Art up there by personal favorite royalboiler for the Elephantmen #43 cover.
A comiXologist Recommends:
Jonah Chuang recommends Deadly Class #6
I’ve been really enjoying Rick Remender (rickremender) , Wesley Craig (wescraigcomics) and Lee Loughridge’s new series, Deadly Class. It feels like a cross between X-Men, Harry Potter, the Breakfast Club, and Game of Thrones in that it’s a school for exceptional teenage misfits to learn a special set of skills, but everyone’s either brutally killing or having sex with each other.
Deadly Class takes place in 1987 at a school for assassins. The students are the children of the most over-the-top caricatures of the world’s most violent archetypes— Neo Nazis, Cartel leaders, drug dealers, gangsters of all kinds— and they takes classes like Beheading, Poison and AP Black Arts. The main character, Marcus Lopez, is a crazy wreck that you can’t help but love, despite the terrible things he sometimes does. He’s a struggling, lost kid in a hostile world who’s in love with a girl who’s way out of his league. If twenty years of reading comics and watching TV and movies has taught me anything it’s that you can’t go wrong with this formula.
“But if it’s been done before, why should you care?” That’s a good point, reader. My response would be because it hasn’t been done exactly like this before. Marcus is no Peter Parker or Aladdin, he’s a desperate homeless kid with a horrifying past who gets high and kills people. Also, when you pick up early issues of Amazing Spider-Man you never get the sense that Flash Thompson will kill Peter Parker in the course of his bullying, but you don’t get that sense of security with Deadly Class. In this closing chapter of the first story arc, students are shot, stabbed, beaten and slashed on almost every page, so the stakes are noticeably higher.
Deadly Class is one of the most exciting, gripping and dynamic stories on the shelves today. Don’t let it slip through the cracks!
For fans of: action
Jonah Chuang is a production coordinator assistant at comiXology. He lives in Queens with his two rescue dogs, Baby J and Li’l Sebastian.
A comiXologist Recommends:
Madeleine Lloyd-Davies recommends Trees #1
Trees tells the story of Earth’s first encounter with aliens, but it’s different from any other alien comic out there. Rather than coming to Earth to attack us, or give us knowledge, or even interact with us at all, the aliens are completely indifferent to our presence. How embarrassing for us! Writers generally imagine that we’d be very important to aliens in one way or another, but Ellis assumes that we’re of even less interest than another planet’s single-cell organisms would be to us.
I’m also excited about Jason Howard’s illustrations of these alien visitors (the titular “trees”). It has always been a pet peeve of mine that science fiction has so frequently decided that our basic bodily structure makes sense for life elsewhere—eyes, mouths, audible communication—I’m always impressed when someone can come up with something that isn’t recognizable as human.
In this issue, we’re introduced to a few key players for the upcoming story, and we get background on the original “invasion,” which happened ten years ago. I’m excited to learn more about these aliens, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a while before that happens. If you are interested in alien invasion stories, I would definitely give this series a shot.
For fans of: sci-fi
Madeleine Lloyd-Davies, comiXology’s Production Director, has wanted to work in the comics industry since she was seven years old, sitting cross-legged on the floor in CVS and reading Jughead comics.