If you are looking for something new to read, here are six indie sci-fi comics that you might have missed.
The last few years have seen sci-fi comics take a leading place on the shelves and in the hearts of comics collectors. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples has had both critics and fans raving, while the reinvigorated Star Wars comics have seen great work from creators including Jason Aaron, John Cassaday, and Kieron Gillen.
Aside from the Marvel Star Wars comics, most of the sci-fi that gets attention comes from Saga publisher Image, the best home for non-superhero comics since DC closed Vertigo. But there are also some great indie sci-fi comics out there, whether ongoing or completed in the past few years.
Indie Sci-FI Comics – Drugs & Wires by Cryoclaire and Io Black
It’s 1995. The Soviet empire has fallen, and an electronic empire is rising to take its place in the form of the internet. Amid the dank tower blocks of a post-Soviet city, Dan is trying to hide from the world with a head full of drugs. He used to be a part of the hip tech-savvy underground of hacking and cyborg implants, until failure and embarrassment chased him away. But when bodies start dropping, Dan finds himself drawn back in to a world of drugs and wires.
With its snarky dialogue and dystopian cyberware, Drugs & Wires reads like a William Gibson novel adapted by Warren Ellis. The art is amusingly cartoonish while still leaving space for moments of realism and dark humor. If you miss the 1990s vision of the future or have a yearning for that lost tomorrow, this is one to check out.
Indie Sci-FI Comics – Telikos Protocol by Peter Cooper and Adam Burn
Three hundred years from now, humanity is on its last legs. Environmental and social collapse have left the survivors living in underground cities, scrabbling for what resources they can obtain to get by. The most important resources are relics left behind by an alien civilization, technology that might just be humanity’s best hope.
Except that the aliens are coming back, and that isn’t good news for humanity.
Telikos Protocol is an action adventure story supported by beautiful, bleakly rendered art full of detail and atmosphere. That art alone was enough to see this comic excel on Kickstarter when it was first being prepared. If you’re looking for something with excitement, adventure, and an atmosphere reminiscent of The Expanse this is one for you. And with environmental catastrophe still our generation’s great threat, it’s good to see what comics creators are making out of it.
Indie Sci-FI Comics – Questionable Content by Jeph Jacques
Still going strong after over a decade, Questionable Content may be one of the strangest sci-fi webcomics out there. It started out as a humor series about 20-somethings making music jokes and bemoaning their dead-end jobs. But from the start, Pintsize the robot added an element of sci-fi, alongside his endless stream of inappropriate jokes. Over the years, the comic has developed a sprawling cast of characters and a world that features artificial intelligence, holograms, a permanently habitable space station, and underground robot fighting rings.
Questionable Content is an odd beast. Writer and artist Jeph Jacques has followed his moods in shifting between slacker humor and sci-fi spectacle, daily gags and drawn out emotional stories. Along the way, his art style has developed into something that’s slickly elegant, but that can make going back through the archives an odd experience by comparison. The characters are wonderful, the humor is offbeat, and if you like something with an emotional tone as varied as real life then you owe it to yourself to give QC a go.
Indie Sci-FI Comics – The Army of Dr. Moreau by David F. Walker and Carl Sciacchitano
The popularity of steampunk has led to a whole wave of retro science fiction, as writers take past visions of the future and make them new. The Army of Dr. Moreau is one of those comics.
Taking the classic alternate history question of “what if the Nazis did X?”, The Army of Dr. Moreau combines this with H.G. Wells’s sci-fi classic The Island of Dr. Moreau. In this world, the island of human-animal hybrids was real and Nazi Germany got hold of the technology. Now a team is sent in to deal with the menace and it’s not going to be an easy mission.
A good read for fans of classic science fiction who like to think about what came next and for those who love a good Nazi alternate history story like Iron Sky.
Indie Sci-FI Comics – UFOlogy by James Tynion IV, Noah J. Yuenkel, and Matthew Fox
Science fiction coming of age stories are always rich with potential. On the verge of adulthood, the world seems like a weird place, full of mysteries and half-revealed secrets. It doesn’t take a degree in English literature to turn that into a powerful yet accessible metaphor. It’s part of why shows like Stranger Things are such a huge success.
The comic UFOlogy dips into this territory with the story of Becky and Finch. Exploring an abandoned house, they run into a strange man who marks Becky with alien spores. Inevitably, it’s a situation that leads to danger and unexpected revelations.
With dark government agencies and small town secrets, this is a book with shades of both The X-Files and Stephen King, but with a thoroughly modern lead character.
If you can’t wait for Stranger Things to return to our screens, this should help see you through.
At the start of the 21st century, Warren Ellis was one of the greatest creative forces in comics. The English writer produced a string of wild visionary ideas and exhilarating story arcs. Working for both large and small publishers, his work crackled with sharp dialogue, striking imagery, and wild action.
Sadly, several of the series he started at the time were never finished. Here are four Warren Ellis comics that fell by the wayside, and the potential that each one [Click to read more…]
Indie Sci-FI Comics – Strange Nation by Paul Allor and Juan Romera
Norma Park’s journalism career has gone awry. She’s fallen from a prestigious position to writing for a tabloid, hunting out lurid stories for a gullible readership. But instead of the end of her career, this becomes a new beginning, as she’s drawn into a world of strange details and huge stories. Mermaids, monkey hybrids, an alien invasion, and a shadowy conspiracy, they’re all real and they’re all part of Norma’s world now.
Strange Nation is full of interesting details, exciting adventure, and an off-beat approach to the stories that the X-Files treated so seriously. The art is great, with well-designed characters, dynamic storytelling, and eye-catching covers.
If there are some other great indie sci-fi comics that you think belong on the list, let us know in the comments below!