Pubwatch: Aftershock Comics November 2019

Pubwatch: Aftershock Comics November 2019

Happy November! Exciting tidings from AfterShock Comics this month, as the year draws to a close, and AfterShock starts giving us a look at what’s to come in the new year. NEWS AfterShock has announced that in 2020, the company’s fifth year of publishing, they will begin a new publisher and retailer incentives initiative. Elements

Happy November! Exciting tidings from AfterShock Comics this month, as the year draws to a close, and AfterShock starts giving us a look at what’s to come in the new year.

NEWS

AfterShock has announced that in 2020, the company’s fifth year of publishing, they will begin a new publisher and retailer incentives initiative. Elements of this program include a commitment to waiting until the first two issues of a book are completed and the third is scripted before soliciting, the inclusion of four extra pages of content, and a card-stock cover and set $4.99 price for all first issues, as well as 100% returnability on first issues to all retailers ordering ten or more copies.

Regarding this new initiative, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing at AfterShock Steve Rotterdam said, “Without question, our success to date has been due in large part to support from comic shop retailers throughout North America and beyond. To ensure that continues and that we’re being the best possible partner, we’re continually improving upon how we go to market, how we represent the work of our creators, how we communicate with our fans and how we connect with and secure new readers.”

In some exciting news from the final days of November, AfterShock recently announced the new original series Undone by Blood or the Shadow of a Wanted Man. From writers Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson, artist Sami Kivela, colorist Jason Wordie, and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, this new series is described by Thompson as “a proper Western.” The first issue goes on sale February 12, 2020.

Undone by Blood or the Shadow of a Wanted Man #1

In the early 1970s, Ethel Grady Lane returns to her hometown of Sweetheart, Arizona with one thing on her mind: killing the man who murdered her family. But first, she’ll have to find him.

As Ethel navigates the eccentric town and its inhabitants, she learns that the quaint veneer hides a brewing darkness. She has no choice but to descend into a ring of depravity and violence, with her only ally an Old West novel that follows famed gunslinger Solomon Eaton. As both stories unfold simultaneously, a love of fiction informs choices in reality, for better or worse.

From the minds of Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson (The Dregs, X-Men, HER INFERNAL DESCENT) and artist Sami Kivela (Abbot, Tommy Gun Wizards) comes a neo-western that depicts the hard truth of seeking vengeance in the real world.

A young woman stands next to her bike in a desert landscape

Interior art to Undone by Blood #1 by Sami Kivela and Jason Wordie, due out February 2020 from AfterShock Comics.

Also announced this month was Godkillers, another series kicking off on February 19, 2020. From writer Mark Sable, artist Maan House, colorist Hernan Cabrera, and letterer Thomas Mauer, the series is solicited as follows:

Godkillers #1

Abdul Alhazred is an Arab-American folklore professor turned soldier whose fear of death stems from uncertainty about the existence of an afterlife. Then he joins THE GODKILLERS, a special forces unit tasked with fighting insurgents who use mythological creatures as weapons of mass destruction. Now that he knows the supernatural exists, he’ll have to decide which is worse—death or the nightmarish monsters he thought were mere legends.

A gun props up a helmet and goggles, with boots resting at its base, against a dark background with tentacles silhouetted in green

Jeremy Haun’s cover to Godkillers #1, due out February 2020 from AfterShock Comics.

Also announced this month was The Man Who Effed Up Time, from writer and letterer John Layman, artist Karl Mostert, and colorist Dee Cunniffe. Layman describes the book as “butterfly effect noir” and teases that “all time has been screwed up… dinosaurs walk the earth, samurais, Vikings, and they are all ruled under the tyrannical iron thumb of Emperor Abraham Lincoln IV.” The first issue goes on sale February 5, 2020.

The Man Who Effed Up Time #1

Sean Bennett is just your everyday, ordinary lab worker in a high-tech lab with a proto-type time machine. And, yeah, he’s got the same temptations any of us would have about going back in time, just a bit, to correct mistakes of the past and right old wrongs. So, when he meets a version of himself from the future who encourages him to do just that, Sean takes the temporal plunge. Only…can you guess what happens next? Did you read the book title? Yup. All of TIME is f#%&ed up now, and it’s up to Sean to correct it—or else!

Presenting a time-twisted sci-fi action-comedy, a butterfly effect noir, by multiple Eisner-winning writer John Layman (Chew, ELEANOR & THE EGRET) and talented newcomer Karl Mostert. Order it today… before time runs out!

A man stands in a futuristic machine, surrounded by people from various time periods with a dinosaur in the background

Karl Mostert with Dee Cunniffe’s cover to The Man Who Effed Up Time #1, due out from AfterShock Comics in February 2020.

In AfterShock’s January 2020 solicits, the decade kicks off with the continuation of seven ongoing series and three brand new trade paperbacks. As Animosity #27, Baby Teeth #18, Dark Arc: After the Flood #4, Dark Red #10, Midnight Vista #5, Shoplifters Will Be Liquidated #4, and You Are Obsolete #5 release over the month, they’ll be accompanied by trade paperbacks collecting the first five issues of each Descendant, Killer Groove, and Orphan Age.

REVIEWS

Midnight Vista #3

Mark Englert (colorist), Taylor Esposito (letterer), Clara Meath (artist), Eliot Rahal (writer).
November 13, 2019

A milk carton featuring the portrait of a missing kid, against a purple-pink background

Juan Doe’s cover to Midnight Vista, from AfterShock Comics in November 2019.

Midnight Vista #3 is quick-moving and sentimental, taking time to ground the more fantastical elements of an alien abduction story with human moments. Still fleeing the aliens who held him hostage for most of his life, Oliver wakes up at his mother’s, where he learns that she has spent his entire disappearance searching for him and preparing for his return. The sentiment Oliver and his mother share as they take time to enjoy being reunited after so long feels genuine, anchored by small signs of care, like Marisol buying clothes in every size so that when she finally found Oliver she would have something that fit him, no matter how large he’d grown.

Even as the issue centers on Oliver reconnecting with his mother, the plot moves quickly. Undeterred by the events of the prior issue, the men in black suits continue their pursuit of Oliver, aided by human authorities. Tensions are high as Oliver flees and Marisol fights to protect him, with police and Oliver’s mother at loggerheads, even as they all attempt to solve the formerly cold case of Oliver’s long disappearance. Excellently paced, the third issue of this series hits all the right notes, with a momentum that grows the longer Oliver holds on to his newfound freedom.

Shoplifters Will Be Liquidated #2

Patrick Kindlon (writer & co-creator), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (letterer), Stefano Simeone (artist & co-creator).
November 6, 2019

Green headshots of various inhuman skulls, with one face illustrated in red and on fire

Stefano Simeone’s cover to Shoplifters Will Be Liquidated, from AfterShock Comics in November 2019.

The second issue of Shoplifters Will Be Liquidated introduces a great deal of new information, very quickly. Just as Loss Prevention Officer Nussbaum finds himself in over his head in the hidden world beneath the Caucasus shopping center, so, too, are readers left struggling to piece together the politics of the underneath. Rival factions become known to each other through the event of Nussbaum’s discovery and capture. As they explain their worlds to each other, Nussbaum becomes overwhelmed by the reality of life uncontrolled by Caucasus company policy.

The art cleverly distinguishes Caucasus and the world beneath through color. Just as in the first issue, the interior of the shopping center is cool and bright, a world of controlled blues, purples and pinks, highlighted by bright white accents. In contrast, the world below is lit with shades of red and shadowed in heavy black. Going from one location to the next feels like leaving a room lit all in neon and fluorescent overhead lights to enter a fire-lit cave.

The two types of intrigue in this issue—the corporate power struggle within Caucasus and Nussbaum’s inhumane tactics to escape the world beneath—mirror the ideas held central in each of the two worlds Nussbaum has found himself in. The contrast between them indicates how out of place company man Nussbaum is in the community he’s found himself in, outside of the regimented control he’s used to within Caucasus. Above, in the shopping center, money and the pursuit of it motivates everything. But beneath, art and community flourish, though they create their own challenges. Thematically, this is a tad heavy-handed, but paired with the art and dynamic coloring, the creative team behind Shoplifters Will Be Liquidated expands their capitalist dystopia into a larger world that is thought-provoking to explore.

Emma Snape
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