PUBWATCH: Aftershock Comics September 2019

PUBWATCH: Aftershock Comics September 2019

Welcome to Aftershock Comics Pubwatch for September 2019! This is the first month that I will be offering regular monthly updates on Aftershock for our WWAC readers, and you can keep an eye out for them in the months to come. We’re excited to read dangerously along with Aftershock, and bring you all the news

Welcome to Aftershock Comics Pubwatch for September 2019! This is the first month that I will be offering regular monthly updates on Aftershock for our WWAC readers, and you can keep an eye out for them in the months to come. We’re excited to read dangerously along with Aftershock, and bring you all the news and reviews on a monthly basis!


Two new books have launched from Aftershock Comics this September, Midnight Vista on September 4 and You Are Obsolete on September 18. Also from Aftershock this month, Animosity #23, Baby Teeth #16, Bad Reception #2, Dark Red #6, Descendant #5, and Knights Temporal #3.

Solicits for Aftershock’s November 2019 publishing schedule released at the end of August. The solicitations announced trade paperbacks collecting Dark Red #1-5 and Baby Teeth #11-15, as well as hardcover collections of the second year of Animosity and the full collection of all three Rough Riders series.

Christopher Sebela has given an update on Aftershock’s Trust Fall on his Twitter, letting fans know that the book is being resolicited with Aftershock, and more details are coming. Hopefully, Trust Fall will be back on the shelves soon, but regardless of its release schedule, it’s good to hear the book hasn’t been cancelled.

Aaron Douglas, known for his role in Battlestar Galactica, has announced via Baltimore Comic Con that he has an original graphic novel in the works for Aftershock Comics, expected to release in 2020. Previously, Douglas has contributed stories to the first two volumes of Aftershock’s Shock horror anthology comic.

Last month, Marguerite Bennett spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about her upcoming graphic novel Horde. You can find the interview here.


Midnight Vista #1

Mark Englert (colorist), Taylor Esposito (letterer), Clara Meath (artist), Eliot Rahal (writer)
September 4, 2019

Juan Doe’s cover to Midnight Vista #1, with the stylized depiction of a boy caught in the beam of a UFO.

Midnight Vista #1 (Aftershock Comics), September 2019, cover by Juan Doe

Reading the first issue of Midnight Vista feels like taking a drive at night, when neon lights shift the recognizable into new territory, and everything feels a little unfamiliar. In its first issue, Midnight Vista takes the classic alien abduction story and turns it on his head: this story isn’t just about an abduction, it’s about what happens when the abducted come home.

The issue is divided into two distinct segments: a flashback to 2002 at the moment a boy named Oliver Flores was abducted, and the present day, as Oliver finds himself suddenly back on Midnight Vista, the very street he had disappeared from years ago. Oliver has been a missing persons cold case for seventeen years, and news of his return is shocking to both local authorities and his father, from whom he’d been living separated at the time of his abduction.

Each of these sequences feels artistically distinct. The flashbacks, including a splash page flashback to Oliver’s time in captivity, are simultaneously more vibrant and flat, defined more by bold colors than by articulated details, like memories that have been dulled at the edges over long years. But in the second sequence, when Oliver has returned to Midnight Vista, fine detail work emerges, fully realizing the world around Oliver more distinctly than the world of his recollections. The art helps contextualize Oliver’s experience to readers, even as he struggles to explain it in words.

The lettering in this issue stands out as particularly effective and inventive. In the opening sequence, brightly lettered sound effects punctuate the story: the click of a changing channel, the flick of a lighter, the long, terrifying whine of an unseen spaceship. From the lettering to the coloring to the cover, writing, and art, every element of this issue works seamlessly together to tell Oliver Flores’ story, in a comic that feels fully and creatively realized.

You Are Obsolete #1

Lauren Affe (colorist), Evgeniy Bornyakov (artist), Simon Bowland (letterer), Andy Clarke (cover artist), Mathew Klickstein (writer), Jose Villarrubia (cover artist)
September 18, 2019

A red hand holds a smart phone displaying a red skull, dripping with blood.

Variant cover to You Are Obsolete #1 (Aftershock Comics), September 2019, by Francesco Francavilla

The first issue of You Are Obsolete reads like a modern Children of the Corn. It’s immediately eerie, set in a disquietingly quiet town, on the remote Estonian island of Muhu. The streets are a little too empty, the townspeople behave unnervingly, and everyone seems to defer to “the children,” who ride around the empty streets of town, packed into a sedan like sardines and all watching through the windows.

As the narrator, a recently disgraced journalist named Lyla Wilton, arrives, townspeople smile too widely at her, and it’s unsettling how no-one’s smile seems to reach their eyes. Artist Evgeniy Bornyakov and colorist Lauren Affe do an excellent job emphasizing the fear behind the town’s placid exterior in closeups on frightened eyes and grinning teeth, forcing readers to see the disconnect between how adults on Muhu act and how they feel. Atmospheric, unnerving, and well-paced, this first issue leans heavily on a journalistic monologue, which feels distinctive to this story, and keeps the issue’s pace steady. Lyla’s monologue begins before she is ever seen, the incongruous narration to a scene that fits a great deal of information succinctly into just a short sequence, without ever feeling like exposition.

On this island, no one lives past forty, and no one dares protest the children’s apparent rule. The children, all hooked to their phones and intolerant of culture that predates them, are certainly creepy, although the concept of tech-addled children runs the risk of falling into trope. The children are tech-savvy in a way no adults on Muhu are: they text instead of speaking in a manner presented as sinister, and enforce their “music of the future” on adults who long for the nostalgic culture of the past. While the comic certainly is effective as a horror story, this insistence upon demonizing the ways youth have adapted to technology omnipresent in their lives feels cliché. The concept of an island run by children is strong and engaging, but ultimately would feel more unique if the children didn’t each have a phone in hand.

Knights Temporal #2

Cullen Bunn (writer), Fran Galán (artist, cover artist), Dave Sharpe (letterer)
August 28, 2019

Fran Galan’s cover to Knights Temporal, featuring August and Jane’s busts, with the Los Angeles skyline superimposed across the bottom of the cover.

Cover to Knights Temporal #2 (Aftershock Comics), August 2019, by Fran Galan

Cullen Bunn, Fran Galán, and Dave Sharpe’s time-hopping adventure continues apace in the second issue. This issue widens the scope of the story, expanding through history and opening up the plotline in our current-day Los Angeles even further. As Auguste de Riviera attempts to atone for his deeds in the Crusades and hunt down the sorcerer Gaspard, he finds himself more confused than ever, and Jane Foole’s trustworthiness becomes less certain. The story continues the momentum established in the first issue, and the world Auguste—now answering to August in the current day—occupies feels huge and expansive. Even as Knights Temporal #2 answers questions raised in the first issue, those answers raise new mysteries, for both August and the readers.

Galán is pulling triple duty as artist, colorist, and cover artist, and it is hard to imagine the book would be half as successful without his energetic work on all three. Even as August and Jane hop through time, their fragmented adventures are made clear to readers through clever coloring that distinguishes each time period from the next. August’s fractured memories make him an unreliable narrator and the plot exciting and difficult to predict, but Galán’s art grounds the story in the familiar, using color and character design to anchor readers—even as the story spins on and each panel contains energy of its own. August’s world grows more dangerous this issue, as Gaspard’s homunculi servants track him and Jane down in the Los Angeles Public Library, and the ending of the issue promises an exciting third issue to come.

Emma Snape

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