Chris Reynolds‘ enigmatic sci-fi comic series Mauretania, compiled in 2018 by New York Review Comics as The New World, is being developed for television by Cardiff-based Bad Wolf, the company behind His Dark Materials and A Discovery of Witches.
Chris has been publishing his surreal vision of a post-alien-invasion Earth, where human beings still have to deal with quotidien frustrations, ennui, and understanding their place in the world, since the mid-1980s, and it is, in my opinion, singularly brilliant. His comics were ones I picked up on Paul Gravett and Peter Stanbury’s Fast Fiction table at the Westminster Comic Marts in London in the 1980s, and his strips appeared in all sorts of places, his brilliant, quirky and strangely affecting comics always so very distinctive in look and the telling.
On the surface, his world seems much like ours: a place of cool afternoon shadows and gently rolling hills, half-empty trains and sleepy downtown streets. But the closer you look, the weirder it gets. After losing a mysterious intergalactic war, Earth is no longer in humanity’s control. Blandly friendly aliens lurk on the margins and seem especially interested in the mining industry.
The very rules of time and space seem to have shifted: mysterious figures suddenly appear in childhood photos, family members disappear forever without warning, power outages abound, and certain people gain the power of flight. A helmeted man named Jimmy is somehow causing local businesses to shutter and is being closely watched by the “trendy new police force,” Rational Control. The world is being remade, but in what image?
Mauretania has not only appeared in comics, either. Chris has experimented with bringing his unique world to film, mobile devices and more down the years.
If you’re now curious to know more about Mauretania, perhaps having never followed Chris Reynolds’ work, then The New World collection, selected and designed by cartoonist Seth is a good place to start. It includes short stories, a novella, and the full-length graphic novel Mauretania. It is, in short, the ideal guide to all the mystery and wonder of one of the most under appreciated cult classics in the history of comics.
If yiu want your mind blown still further, then check out Chris’ official web site!
Bad Wolf was founded to create ambitious, imaginative and relevant drama for the UK, US and global TV markets. An independent scripted production company based in South Wales, London and Los Angeles, current shows include A Discovery of Witches and His Dark Materials.
The company is the result of over 15 years of creative collaboration between founders Jane Tranter, Julie Gardner and the production and creative community of Wales. Enjoying a strong partnership and launched with support from Welsh Government, Bad Wolf also founded Wolf Studios Wales, a world class production facility in Cardiff, and Screen Alliance Wales, an education and training scheme to engage with emerging talent to grow, nurture and build skills across the creative industries.
• Bad Wolf is online at bad-wolf.com
Ed Park offers a great overview of Chris Reynolds’ beguiling series of loosely connected stories, Mauretania Comics
Nick Jones discusses Monitor’s Human Reward, written and drawn by Chris Reynolds, which he describes, as “quite simply my favourite short comics story, ever”, first published in the December 1986 issue of Ed Pinsent’s Fast Fiction