HELLLLOOO MIDTOWN BLOG-OMANIAC! Raph here, and I’m going to talk about something that escapes people’s attention sometimes, sci-fi comics!
I love science fiction, and I think people may forget that superhero comics are science fiction comics. Superman is an alien, Batman and Iron Man have expensive gadgets, and the X-Men are genetically enhanced. There’s a certain magic and mythology to superheroes, but there is also a rational and scientific explanation for most of what goes on in comics (I still don’t know where Beppo the Super Monkey comes from). So to celebrate, here are 5 sci-fi comics you should be reading!
Jonathan Hickman is a modern science fiction master. He takes a simple concept (time travel, secret society) and explodes it into something amazing. Pax Romana is about a future in which the Catholic Church has lost power, but not resources. They fund all sorts of research institutes, one of which discover time travel. The Church then sends a group of soldiers to the time of Constantine, to prevent the fall of the Holy Roman Empire! It’s an amazing piece on human nature, time travel, and speculative fiction all in one! I’d also recommend Hickman’s Fantastic Four run, as well as his S.H.I.E.L.D. series.
Doktor Sleepless is by Warren Ellis, a known futurist and cyberpunk writer (check out Transmetropolitan), but it’s a lesser known work (also, it’s on hiatus). The story revolves around the town of Heavenside, and the return of it’s prodigal son, John Reinhardt, the eponymous Doktor Sleepless. The good Doktor is instigating a little anarchy, in order to bring about something far worse. The first volume is in print, and what interested me in particular is the subculture of “grinders”, who are all about body modification of the techno-organic variety. Ellis also comments on the technology at the end of each issue.
NOVA/GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY/ANNIHILATORS
This is the “Star Wars” of the five series I picked. By Star Wars, I mean that this series takes place in space, has aliens, and that’s about as sci-fi as it gets. Since the “Marvel Cosmic” epoch by Abnett and Lanning started back in 2005, it’s been the hidden gem of the Marvel Universe. Civil War and Secret Invasion got the attention, but I argue that Annihilation and the subsequent series were better. Nova was essentially about Richard Ryder being the last of the Nova Corps, an intergalactic police force. Being the last cop can be stressful, particularly when dealing with an invasion force from an anti-matter universe, or an alien techno-organic assault led by the most powerful robot ever created. After the events of Annihilation: Conquest, Nova was joined by the ragtag Guardians of the Galaxy, who handled threats waayyy over their heads. These two books have since given way to Annihilators, which is the crème of the Marvel Cosmic crop. Planet killing powers combining to stop universal meances? YEEEE-HAWWWWW
There have been quite a few adaptations of sci-fi novels (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and the Ender’s Series come to mind) as well as media tie-ins (Star Trek, Star Wars), but Doctor Who has been a favorite of mine for a little while now. The series has been helmed by writer Tony Lee, and started initially with the 10th Doctor (portrayed by David Tennant). The series has since shifted to the current Doctor (#11, Matt Smith), and it really captures the madcap sensibilities of the new series. Highlights include an alien Jack the Ripper terrorizing 18th century London and a vacation zone invaded by Sontarans. Oh and a dinosaur companion. Yes, you heard me. A. DINOSAUR. COMPANION.
The last one I look to is an oldie but a goodie: Barry Allen’s initial Flash run. It was science fiction with it’s interdimensional travel, but it was also science fact with the introduction of Flash Facts! Flash Facts were little bits of actual, real science in each comic that was actually meant to educate young readers and inform them about the wonderful world of science. I didn’t read these up until recently, but I think they’re swell and golly gee whiz… sorry. I mean that they are a wonderful attempt at teaching youth, even in this day and age. They’re available in softcover Flash Chronicles or the Flash Showcases.
Science fiction has always captivated my imagination, and in my attempt to put a comic in everyone’s hand, I like to take comics out of the traditional perspective of “good guy vs. bad guy, heroes in costumes” and put a spin on them that allows people to open their minds and check this stuff out. There’s more to comics than any one, simple genre description. A plethora of wonder awaits!
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Stay Bloggy My Friends,