While I do love my mainstream superheroes (Steeeeeeeeeeve), I actually jumped into comics feet first in 2009 with The Unwritten and American Vampire, titles put out by Vertigo. So I’m much more used to non-superhero and independent (or semi-independent in Vertigo’s case, as it’s an imprint of DC) comics and the fantastic concepts you can usually find within. Today’s selections involve a superhero turned mayor and a world where music can save your life—or kill you.
Ex Machina: The First Hundred Days by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris
The first volume of the Eisner Award-winning series featuring Eisner Award-winners author Brian K. Vaughan and artist Tony Harris. Set in our modern-day world, EX MACHINA tells the story of civil engineer Mitchell Hundred, who becomes America’s first living, breathing super-hero after a strange accident gives him amazing powers. Eventually Mitchell tires of risking his life merely to maintain the status quo, retires from masked crimefighting and runs for mayor of New York City, winning by a landslide. But Mayor Hundred has to worry about more than just budget problems and an antagonistic governor, especially when a mysterious hooded figure begins assassinating plow drivers during the worst snowstorm in the city’s history!
Okay, yes, this one has a superhero in it. But he’s an ex-superhero! Ex Machina was brought to my attention when I saw a sample of it floating around the Internet. I did enjoy what I’ve seen of Vaughan’s work in Y: The Last Man (whee, gendercide! …wait…), and I always enjoy seeing speculative fiction elements worked into the more mundane parts of reality.
Brian Ruckley at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist enjoyed it, but thought that, for all its technical finesse, it’s a little robotic. Adam Volk at the SF Site, however, absolutely loved it.
Ex Machina: The First Hundred Days was published on February 1, 2005.
Phonogram: Rue Britannia by Kieran Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
Britannia is ten years dead. Phonomancer David Kohl hadn’t spared his old patron a thought for almost as long… at which point his mind starts to unravel. Can he discover what’s happened to the Mod-Goddess of Britpop while there’s still something of himself left? Dark modern-fantasy in a world where music is magic, where a song can save your life or end it.
I think everyone went through that period in their adolescence where music was your soul. Well, calling it a period implies that it’s over. There are songs I cannot listen to often, because they’re so emotional to me. So a comic series where music, especially British pop music, is magic is extremely up my alley. Bring me Madonna!
Phonogram: Rue Britannia was published on July 3, 2007.