Monday, April 19, 2010


As I mentioned a few days ago, Steve Bissette has just released a new 16-page preview under the TALES OF THE UNCANNY title, reviving the concepts from his share of the long dormant characters from the 1963 series (N-Man, the Hypernaut and the Fury plus associated characters, including what looks like an enlarged role for Sky Solo), in anticipation of a full 200+ page book coming out later this year.  Courtesy of Steve, I've got a copy of the preview now (details on ordering a copy of your own over here, and look around the site for a lot more details about the characters).

For the revival, Bissette establishes the fictional publisher Naut Comics, with a history going back back to the pulps and continuing on through comics history, with various incarnations of their key characters.  It looks like the upcoming book will present some of the newly created vintage stories, as well as articles about their fictional creation. It's an interesting set-up which is true to the 1963 roots of the characters, and lets Bissette explore multiple styles and genres and also indulge in his interest in comic book history through a fictional lens.

And as you'd expect for a 200+ page book, Bissette isn't alone in this.  As Bissette goes through on his site, many of the stories are being done in collaboration with various young artists from the Center for Cartoon Studies where Bissette teaches, several of them with work in the preview showing off a variety of styles, and several other established creators look to be contributing as well (including Fred Hembeck, who has a short Dateline: @!!?# comic strip in the preview).

There are several bits with N-Man in the preview, starting with the cover.  It looks like there'll be some good variety with his character, from straight-forward Hulk-like super-hero adventures to much more horror based material and an intriguing looking back-cover look at an adventure that seems to be something like Indiana Jones crossed with Hellboy.

And as Bissette mentioned on his site (and in a note to me) the Hypernaut is going to get quite a lot of attention as well. He intersects with N-Man on the heroics, but leans to a more science fiction side. My second favourite piece of art in the preview (after the front cover) is a great colour portrait of the Hypernaut among some asteroids in deep space, and a preview of a comics page shows him inhabiting a microscopic Nanonaut body to enter N-Man's body.

There are a lot of directions this material could take in the upcoming book, especially with over 200 pages to play with (for more possible hints, check out the pages for N-Man, the Hypernaut and the Fury over on Bissette's site.  I'm not sure how much of that stuff is still relevant with the latest work on the characters, but it's fun reading and has some great art, including a screen from the Fury cell phone game). I'll definitely be there to check out the full book.

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