I’m going to argue that some of the best space-themed/alien/sci-fi stories and visuals are in comics. I know what you’re thinking…how can I say that with movies like Interstellar or shows like Firefly out there? Well let me explain. I’m not going to discount the incredible cinematics or story-lines in all our favourite space movies and shows – but I am going to tell you why not reading at least ONE of the comics below means you’re missing out.
While movies and TV have the advantage of multi-million dollar budgets, special effects teams, and a whole slew of other resources; comics rely solely on the creative team to create an equally stunning, captivating story and visual for a genre that is quite frankly, one of the most iconic. Creating a space-themed comic is no easy feat…you’re a 2D medium fighting for the attention of an audience that is very much conditioned to prefer the 3D spectatular; this is what makes the titles below truly special.
So if you need some space, check out these comics:
NOW BOARDING: Southern Cross, tanker flight 73 to TITAN! Alex Braith is on board retracing her sister’s steps to the refinery moon, hoping to collect her remains and find some answers. The questions keep coming though—how did her sister die? Where did her cabin mate disappear to? Who is that creep across the hall? And why does she always feel like she’s being watched? Inspired by classic mysteries and weird fiction, SOUTHERN CROSS is a crucible of creeping anxiety and fear as Braith struggles with the ghosts of her past on board a ship that holds secrets best kept buried.
- VIA Image Comics
This isn’t your typical sci-fi-space-comic. Written by Becky Cloonan with art by Andy Belanger, Southern Cross feels like a Sci-Fi Thriller TV show rather than a comic book. The art is absolutely stunning, and makes all the difference in how you experience the story and book as a whole. This is a book you commit yourself to, as it’s dedicated to building up the long-term story line (like a TV show), but it’s worth it.
One young robot’s struggle to stay alive in a universe where all androids have been outlawed and bounty hunters lurk on every planet. A rip-roaring and heart-felt cosmic odyssey that pits humanity against machine, and world against world, to create a sprawling space opera from the creators of Trillium, Sweet Tooth, and Little Gotham.
- VIA Image Comics
Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen have created a truly epic space drama with Descender. They have created an entire world on a scale that not many comics have managed to do outside of Saga. There really isn’t much I can say about this comic, honestly because the scale of it isn’t quite understood until you dive in and read it for yourself. So, you should probably do that!
Becky Finch never wanted to be special. She just wanted to be a normal high school student in the small, Midwestern town of Mukawgee. Malcolm Chamber wanted something more. A destiny. An answer from the stars. When Becky is marked by an alien’s touch, she’ll stumble into a mystery she never wanted. A mystery that almost ripped apart both their parents’ lives 12 years ago. She’ll need the help of her eccentric young classmate, Malcolm, as she finds the power within herself to uncover the truth.
- VIA Boom! Studios
James Tynion IV has written some of my favourite comics, but teaming up with Noah J. Tuenkel and Matt Fox has resulted in something really cinematic. Referred to by many – including Boom! Studios as being “reminiscent of films like E.T. and Super 8, and TV shows like Twin Peaks and the X-Files”. This book manages to feel both familiar and completely new. Whether it’s the nostalgia you get from reading it, or not…something about this book will immediately draw you in.
An astronomer kills his family, then himself, leaving a cryptic warning. A Veiled Lady hunts her victims through human nightmares. An occult hustler known only as ‘Nameless’ is recruited by a consortium of billionaire futurists for a desperate mission. And the malevolent asteroid Xibalba spins closer on a collision course with Earth. But nothing is what it seems—a terrifying inhuman experiment is about to begin. Abandon all hope and experience ultimate horror in NAMELESS.
- VIA Image Comics
After realizing that this comic is written by Grant Morrison with art by Chris Burnham, I really shouldn’t have to say more to how great this book is, but I will. As with most of Morrison’s work, Nameless takes time – it’s not a book you rush through, it’s a book you experience. The art is absolutely beautiful and does everything it needs to, to amplify Morrison’s incredible story.
I couldn’t write this post without at least mentioning that the X-Files continue on in comic form through IDW Publishing. So if you’re getting anxious waiting for the premiere of the mini-series at the end of the month, you have plenty of comics to tide you over until then!
What are your favourite space-themed, alien or sci-fi comics? Let me know in the comments below.