Love him or hate him, there’s no question that Harlan Ellison has had one hell of a colorful life. He joined a street gang to bone up on their world before he wrote a book about the subculture. He was fired on his first day at Walt Disney Studios after riffing on the idea of a pornographic movie starring Disney characters…within earshot of Roy Disney. He has earned a reputation for being contentious, vociferously opinionated, and possessed of a bountiful talent for revenge. To this day, one of the most legendary anecdotes about the writer is the story of him butting heads with Gene Roddenberry over Ellison’s script for Star Trek’s “The City on the Edge of Forever.” Now, nearly 50 years later, Ellison’s original teleplay for the episode is being adapted into a comic book miniseries by IDW Publishing.
If you’re a long-time fan of David Weber’s acclaimed Honor Harrington series, but you’ve never really gotten into comics, Image just gave you the perfect excuse. Today marks the release of the first issue of Tales of Honor, a new ongoing comic series set within the so-called “Honorverse.” On the other hand, if you’re a comic fan who’s never sampled Weber’s books, this new comic is part of a larger multi-media plan eventually culminating — if all goes as planned — in an Honor Harrington movie. So if you like it, you’ve got no shortage of related material to dive into.
For the uninitiated, the so-called Honorverse is a military science fiction series focused on the titular main character, a military officer in the service of the Star Kingdom of Manticore. She ticks off all the usual badass bullet points: loyal, dedicated, a tactical genius, and more than capable of holding her own whether she’s commanding a starship or putting your ass on the mat in person. The art by Jung-Geun Yoon is gorgeous, and writer Matt Hawkins has several other Image series under his belt, including Think Tank and Aphrodite IX. You can check out cover art and the first few pages of issue #1 in the gallery below, and head over to the next page for a full rundown of today’s science fiction comic releases.
We devote most of our coverage here at GFR on science fiction developments within the sphere of movies and TV — it’s just a numbers game and that’s where the most eyeballs are focused. But there’s another visual medium perfectly suited for blasting sci-fi awesomeness straight into your eyeballs: comic books. It seems like the comics landscape right now is chockablock with excellent science fiction series such as Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga or Rick Remender’s Black Science (pictured above). So we’re launching Comic(s) Relief, a new recurring column where we’ll highlight what’s new in comicbook science fiction, tip you off to some classics you might have missed, and generally have a good time celebrating those things our moms swore we’d grow out of at some point.
For our first time out of the gate, we’re going to highlight several new series in the works from Image Comics. If you’re not much of a comic-book person but are looking for an entry point, I highly recommend checking out Image’s catalog simply because most if not all of their stuff is creator-owned, and as such tends to attract some really excellent storytelling, outside-the-box stuff far and away from the familiar superhero stuff from DC and Marvel. Image is, for instance, the home of Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead, the inspiration for AMC’s hit TV series, and which recently released its 119th issue this week.
Image introduced a ton of new series yesterday at the 2014 Image Expo. Let’s take a look at the more science fictional of the crop.
Times are tough for zombie fans, who only have 999,999 forms of zombie fiction to spend their time with now that The Walking Dead has gone on its winter hiatus. But zombies don’t quit for the winter, so everyone can safely look forward to the upcoming Marvel Comics series Empire of the Dead from genre king George Romero. Though the comic will be out in a little over a month, they’ve already released a few of the presumably unfinished pages as a preview of things to come. And things are pretty gritty and dire, I warn you.
The year is…I have no idea, but it takes place quite a while after a widespread zombie outbreak has passed. New York City is forever changed, and Manhattan has been quarantined with all the survivors. But they’re certainly not safe, as the undead threat isn’t the only thing putting them at risk. There are also vampires. I’m not happy about it either, but if I’m going to read anyone deliver a zombies vs. humans vs. vampires story, it might as well come from a legend in the game.
While most of us learned the name “J. Michael Straczynski” via his excellent Babylon 5 series, he’s also worked extensively in comics over the years, penning memorable series such as Rising Stars and Midnight Nation, not to mention playing in the Big Two’s respective sandboxes on titles including The Amazing Spider-Man, Thor, and Superman. Today he takes his talents into one of the most beloved fictional apocalypses around, the universe of the Terminator franchise. The first issue of Dark Horse’s Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle hits comic stands today, with JMS scripting, art by Pete Woods, and colors by Matthew Wilson.
The Final Battle will have everything you’d expect from a good Terminator tale: time hopping, murderous robots, future rebellion leaders who scream at directors of photography who walk onto the set during a scene. The 12-issue series is set in the aftermath of 2009′s Terminator Salvation, with an adult John Connor continuing to lead the human resistance against Skynet’s genocidal machines. Back in July, JMS told Comic Book Resources:
Alison Wilgus writes about space and space exploration over at Tor.com, but she’s also got some serious chops when it comes to visual storytelling. This past summer she got the chance to visit NASA and watch one of its launches. Specifically, she was a guest of the program and got witness a launch for the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System, through which all those astronaut tweets and blog posts that made Chris Hadfield a social media star were routed. The TDRSS also funnels data from the Hubble and other satellites, video from the ISS, and so on — as Wilgus puts it, “Basically anything in Earth’s orbit that’s transmitting information is tied to the TDRSS.”