This month, I’m taking a look at AfterShock Comics, which describes itself as “a creatively driven comic book publisher led by a team of highly accomplished, life-long comics professionals and entertainment specialists.” When I chatted with managing editor Christina Harrington, she explained that the company wanted “to tell stories that’ll make your skin crawl, that’ll pull on your heart strings, that’ll challenge the way you think about the world.”
Fresh off their trip to HeroesCon, let’s see how AfterShock is doing this month.
With the release of Killer Groove last month, AfterShock has teamed up with Gibson Guitars for a contest giving away two Epiphone Les Paul Special Vintage Edition (VE) Electric Guitars signed by Killer Groove creators Ollie Masters and Eoin Marron. One retailer and one fan winner will be announced on June 30, 2019, so be sure to check out the rules to find out how to get your killer groove on.
For those about to groove, we salute you! Enter now to win an Epiphone DR-100 signed by Killer Groove creators Ollie Masters and Eoin Marron. Winner will be chosen June 30th, enter today for your chance to rock! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/RNWVuTUZjB
— AfterShock Comics (@AfterShockComix) June 13, 2019
Midnight Vista #1 has caught the attention of The Hollywood Reporter, who interviewed writer Eliot Rahal about the alien abduction drama.
Writer Christopher Sebela shared thoughts on Trust Fall #1 at SyFy Wire, along with a nine-page preview of the new comic.
What I’m Reading
Aftershock has lots to offer for June. Here are some quick reviews of what I’ve read for this month’s Pubwatch.
Orphan Age #2 & 3
Ted Anderson (writer), Marshall Dillon (letterer), Juan Doe (variant cover artist), Nuno Plati (illustrator)
May 15 & June 12, 2019
Following my review of the first issue, I am reading this series clinging to Anderson’s promise that this post-apocalyptic story is more than just a display of how bad humanity can be, as Daniel, Willa, and Princess continue their journey onward and away from the deadly Firemen of the New Church. In the second issue, we are introduced to the way some of the other societies have coped twenty years after the death of all the adults. We get a glimpse at how trade works when they meet a neighbourhood that resides primarily in and around a shopping mall—which, as we know from our long-ago discussion on successful apocalypse survival, is one of our preferred options here at WWAC. But of course, not all is as it seems. Without an overarching government to enforce laws, even though most places have local rules, it’s still every person for themselves and survival of the fittest in a lot of situations.
And yet, Anderson doesn’t let his protagonists lose their sense of hope and cautious trust. Willa, with her gorgeous, thick locks, remains on edge everywhere they go but defers to Daniel’s more rational approach to everything they do. The third issue delves deeper into what survival means from many different angles for children who suddenly lost every adult in their lives. Princess has much to learn about the world, and while she is not naive, she does still hold on to some of her father’s ideals, which means she can and will question Daniel and Willa’s decisions… causing them to question themselves.
I love when writers remember that this is a visual medium first and foremost and allow their artists to do some of the talking. Several panels are wordless or feature few words, but Plati skillfully builds tension with those silent moments, communicating with colour and body language.
Lollipop Kids Volume 1: Things That Go Bump in the Night
DC Alonso (colourist), Sal Cipriano (letterer), Juan Doe (cover artist), Adam & Aidan Glass (writers), Diego Yapur (artist)
Adam Glass opens the book with a touching introduction that explains the origins of this story, which came as the result of bedtime stories for a young, dyslexic child, and their shared love of movies like Ghostbusters and Men In Black. Which brings us to Nick, our protagonist who also has dyslexia. In searching for his sister Mia, Nick stumbles into a dark world within Central Park that he never knew existed. Brought over by immigrants who tried to flee them, monsters have escaped their imprisonment, and now it’s up to the Lollipop Kids, descendants of the original sentinels, to keep the city safe.
This is middle grade urban fantasy at its finest, with a relatable cast of badass kids who have learned from their own normal and sometimes not-so-nice pasts how to handle a world of fairy-tale monsters. It’s bittersweet to read about kids who admit that they have sacrificed their childhood to risk their lives to protect others, but the crew are good at their jobs and dedicated to their duty and to each other. This is a pretty dark story at its heart, but it’s not without a sense of humour and teenage snark. As far as origin stories go, this one is solid.
Trust Fall #1
Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (letterer), Christopher Sebela (writer), Chris Visions (artist)
Before I get into the story, I have got to talk about the incredible artwork in Trust Fall. Simply put, it is a delicious flow of imagery in moody pastels that twist and turn through violent showdowns, car chases, and family arguments—all offset by the intense drama captured in each one of Otsmane-Elhaou’s letters. This is one gorgeous book to stare at.
Trust Fall is just that for Ash Parsons, whose teleportation abilities make her a valuable asset to her crime lord family, because she can literally move anything they want to just about anywhere they want it. But the catch is that her abilities don’t involve teleporting herself, making every heist an adventure in trusting her family to get her out of the situations they put her in. Only family life ain’t so great for our girl.
“As much as this book is about doing a lot of cool and dark stuff,” said Sebela in a SyFy interview, “it’s also about families and how they shape our world, how much trust we put in what we’ve been taught and what happens when we figure out none of it is exactly what we thought it was.”
Sebela and Visions toss you right into the action and it doesn’t stop when Ash gets home to her dysfunctional family. It’s a bit overwhelming and even somewhat confusing at first, but that’s where the art and lettering come in to keep you locked in on this moving target of a heist story that’s also a story about what family means.
Also Out This Month
Check your local comic book store shelves for these other titles available this month from AfterShock:
- Dark Red #4
- Killer Groove #2
- Mary Shelley Monster Hunter #3
- Descendant #2
- Stronghold #5
- Animosity #22
- Walk Through Hell #11
AfterShock’s many series continue, but they are always introducing something new. Coming July 31st is Knights Temporal, which, according to writer Cullen Bunn, will feature “lots of action and humor and horror, but it will challenge the readers, too.” After taking a quick peek at the preview, I can attest to its high-paced action and some enigmatic characters who may or may not be trustworthy…
”When Auguste de Riviere returned from the Crusades, he was ashamed and horrified by the things he had done. Hoping to reclaim his soul, he pledged to root out evil wherever it might be found. But when he pursues a vile sorcerer into a forbidden forest, his life is shattered. Auguste ventured into the dark forest, but emerged in the modern world. Accompanied now by the enigmatic Jane Fool, Auguste hunts a madman while trying to piece together the mystery of his very existence.”
Coming in September is yet another thriller: You Are Obsolete, written by Mathew Klickstein and illustrated by Evgeniy Bornyakov.
“A disgraced journalist is called to cover a mysterious story on an isolated European island. As she investigates, she discovers the children have taken control and are somehow killing off all adults by their 40th birthdays. Now, she must discover the truth behind the killings while staying on the good side of the children’s harsh leader… or she’s next.”