Felipe Andrade & JF Beaulieu’s ‘Figment’ #1 Will Be The Best Looking Marvel Comic On Sale Next Week [Exclusive Preview]
The winner of the 2013 ComicsAlliance prize for Raddest Superhero Art for his work on Captain Marvel, Filipe Andrade's latest project is inspired by one of Disney's quirkier theme park attractions. Figment stars the titular dragon and his human creator Dreamfinder, who are features at the Journey Into Imagination attraction at the EPCOT portion of Disneyworld, and tells the story of how they came to be in a time-and-space-spanning adventure written by Jim Zub (Skullkickers, IDW's Samurai Jack). I think this is the kind of cool, weird, funny and gorgeous comic that sometimes flies under the radar in our superher-saturated market, but hopefully this exclusive first look at finished pages from Figment #1 will remind some readers that there's going to be something special on the shelves next week.
I’m a pretty big fan of Disney lore with respect to theme parks. That’s why Marvel's Disney Kingdoms comics are a cool idea. The rides wouldn’t work if they were burdened with delivering linear plot points, but the tone and worlds are so well defined that visitors experience the adventures in that visceral way that only Disney parks can offer. But consequently, you want to return to those worlds and explore them further.
Andrade is the kind of artist who's well suited to this kind of work, realizing a world that heretofore existed as a kind of real place and not a story as such. The Disney Imagineers put story elements into every ride or other attraction, and they're often very interesting and even peculiar, but in many cases the deeper narratives behind the attractions have remained mysterious for decades. Outside of a ludicrously budgeted filmic experience along the lines of Disney’s Tron sequel, the best way to immerse yourself in a fantastical world is in comic books, and Andrade's uncanny blend of wild, kinetic line work and fine, intricate detail is perfect for that.
As you can see, Andrade's Figment work takes a lot of cues from the steampunk/Victorian aesthetic, and the black and white originals are evocative in their own right. But as you're seeing here for the very first time, the finished pages with colors by JF Beaulieu blast these images into a whole other dimension.
Figment is going to be worth checking out for the artwork alone, but writer Zub has been doing some thoroughly enjoyable work on the Samurai Jack comic froom IDW, which features artwork from Andy Suriano, another idiosyncratic stylist. Zub talked to Marvel.com about the thematic underpinnings of Figment and what inspiration he took from the theme park's Journey Into Imagination:
"Engaging our imagination is the heart of creativity and the obstacles and fears we have about really embracing that creative process is at the core of the story I’m putting together," explains Zubkavich. "Figment’s innocence is childlike, and one of the most important elements of that is that children don’t have the limitations the rest of us have given ourselves as adults. They’re free to imagine fully and that definitely has a role to play as the story develops. In so many ways this story really is a 'Journey into Imagination,' in both word and deed."
Figment #1 goes on sale in comics shops and digitally next Wednesday from Marvel.