When a former editor from DC/Vertigo reaches out to you out of the blue and tells you she wants to do something with you “like comics, or something awesome,” it is an easy yes.
Alisa Kwitney – who worked on Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, and went on to become a full editor at Vertigo – reached out to the team at US publisher Brain Mill Press exactly like this, after more than twenty years alongside her comics queens cohort of Karen Berger and Shelly Bond. She had an idea for producing and editing the kind of comics she always wanted to find and the kind of comics she always wanted to edit by her favourite creators.
The result? Future Echoes Part One – Arcanum: (Mystery), available digitally now, a different kind of long-distance romance, beautifully told by Al Davison (Spiral Cage) and Yen Quach, edited by Alisa, the founding series for Liminal Comics.
In Future Echoes, Harlan is a brilliant scientist who follows his own path and refuses to let anyone tell him how to live just because he’s a wheelchair user. He has only one passion: to prove that there is no such thing as the supernatural. He doesn’t believe in ghosts any more than he believes in love. One night in an abandoned chateau on the outskirts of Paris just might change his mind… if he survives.
Because even though no one’s lived in the old Vine estate for over a century, Harlan’s not alone there anymore…
Al Davison is a comic creator who should need no introduction to downthetubes readers. who has worked extensively for DC/Vertigo on such titles as Vermillion, House of Mystery, The Dreaming, and The Unwritten. He has also drawn Doctor Who comics for IDW, but is probably best known for his graphic memoir The Sprial Cage, which explores his experiences growing up with Spina-Bifida, a condition he was born with and was not expected to survive.
He is currently working on the sequel, Muscle Memory: A Survivors Tale, which is being supported via Patreon. Al also has a comic book shop and studio, The Astral Gypsy, in Coventry, which he runs with his wife, Maggie, often — and always ably — assisted by Yen Quach.
Yen Quach is an award-winning freelance artist, illustrator, and comic artist who works in both digital and traditional media. Reflecting the world with curiosity and creativity, she began the #draweveryday challenge in 2013 and has not missed a day yet. When not drawing, Yen, who holds a degree in Illustration and Animation, moonlights as the Astral Assistant for Al Davison and records her forays into the real world through urban sketching. You will rarely find her without a sketchbook of some form.
Future Echoes seemed set for success from the start. Al, a true “creator’s creator,” wanted to work with Alisa, and to collaborate with Yen on the book. This is the version of winning the lottery for a small press – bringing creators on board who you very desperately admire and having the amazing chance to see them do exactly what it is they would most like to do.
The first character designs, along with the pitch for this founding Liminal Comics series, was, we’re told, some of the most exciting work to have hit the Brain Mill Press inbox – an idea for a time-traveling, gothic, ghost-scientist adventure romance.
It was an idea he’d had for years, one he’d first sketched when an illness left him temporarily blind.
Al wanted to write a series about Harlan, a scientist sceptic who grumpily created a life’s work for himself debunking paranormal claims. Harlan, even in sketch, exuded fierce and compelling curmudgeonly grace, wheeling himself athletically and single-mindedly in his chair and revealing why creators have been in awe of Al’s ability to draw anatomy, form, and movement for decades.
Harlan was to be visited by the worst kind of trouble – he would encounter, for the first time, a true apparition. A woman, living a life parallel to Harlan’s in a cursed house a hundred years earlier. Flame-haired. Beautiful. Also maneuvering the house in a wheelchair. Harlan would have to step up as her only hope, beyond time, beyond scepticism, beyond belief.
Brain Mill Press almost bit Al’s hand off in their excitement.
“Over the next year, Al and Yen and Alisa drew, coloured, lettered, talked, debated, edited, and sent us pages,” the publishers tell us. “Every transmission elicited an office holiday. Harlan and the ghost Amelia were fascinating and electric together; the art was astonishing. Al and Yen were creating an instant classic. Alisa was editing with an eye to rip open the most mortal wounds on the reader possible.”
Liminal Comics has already made the rounds at comic cons and in news stories, but it’s with the release of this first issue of the three-issue Future Echoes that its sharp heart has started to beat. The resulting book is a delight, a wonderful cross-time love story, beautifully told by Al, Yen and Alisa and well worth tracking down – which really isn’t hard!
This is a three-part series, each issue releasing digitally over the next three months, and then in December the collected omnibus of all three issues will release in print. Don’t miss out!
• Find Al on Twitter as @TheAstralGypsy
• Find her at www.yendraws.com and on social media as @YenDraws
• Alisa Kwitney is online at alisakwitney.com
• Brain Mill Press: www.brainmillpress.com
Brain Mill Press publishes around 20 titles a year in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and comics. BMP also has an online journal, VOICES, which publishes columns and commentary. All BMP books are available everywhere books and ebooks are sold, in digital and print formats, including directly from BMP
Future Echoes © The Astral Gypsy Ltd., 2017. All rights reserved
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.