The weekend numbers are in, and Marvel Studio's latest, Doctor Strange, is a hit! It takes the now classic Marvel origin formula and gives it a fresh coat of mystical paint while expanding what we know about the shared universe and offering innovative solutions to world-ending problems. Comic books outside of the Big Two superhero universes are full of stories about magic, demons and alternate dimensions and we've put together a list of five of the best independent titles for you to try next.
Jim Zub and Steve Cummings' Image series Wayward offers readers a fantastical tour of the imagined supernatural underworld of Tokyo, with a cast of young heroes all touched in different ways by mystical forces. It's a fantastically entertaining series that's rooted in the real mythology of Japan, thanks in part to the research of expert monster scholar Zack Davisson, who also provides back-up essays in every issue of Wayward that shed light on Japanese culture and superstitions.
Davisson has been kind enough to share with ComicsAlliance a series of slides detailing the mythological roots of Wayward's many monsters, describing where the monsters come from and showing how they've appeared in both traditional art and in the pages of Wayward. We'll let Davisson explain further, in his own words:
Wayward, the Image ongoing series about a young girl discovering the supernatural underworld of modern-day Japan, kicks off its second arc today with issue #6. The cover for the issue is the first of five that link together to create a single extraordinary panoramic view of some of the series' characters and settings, transitioning from sunset in a junkyard to late night on the streets of Tokyo.
The interlinking covers are an impressive achievement, so to mark the start of the new arc --- and the release today of the first arc in trade paperback --- the creative team of writer Jim Zub, artist Steve Cummings, and colorist Tamra Bonvillain, take us behind the scenes of the creation of their panorama, from conception to completion!
Here at ComicsAlliance, we're already pretty excited about Jim Zub and Steve Cummings' Wayward. The story of a girl who moves from Ireland to Japan after her parents divorce, only to find herself in a world that's not only culturally different, but also full of supernatural monsters that want to murder her right there on the streets of Tokyo hits that perfect combination of adolescent metaphors and comic book action that I'll always love as a reader.
If, however, you still need convincing before the book's Final Order Cutoff date on Monday, then have a look below for a five-page preview that provides a gorgeous showcase of Cummings' art as Rory arrives in Tokyo. And maybe, if you're good, I might throw something else in for good measure.
Last week, Image Comics announced that Jim Zub and Steve Cummings' Wayward would be launching in August. Billed as "the perfect new series for wayward Buffy fans," the new ongoing series is focused on a group of teens in Tokyo, dealing with the monsters of Japanese mythology, and it's Zub's first creator-owned title since he launched Skullkickers back in 2010.
To find out more, I spoke to Zub about the inspiration for the series, why you won't be seeing Rori, the main character, running around with a slice of toast in her mouth, and how her feelings of being isolated reinforce what's going on in the series. Plus, we have an exclusive first look at the variant cover for Wayward #1 by Adam Warren!