Andrew MacLean is an illustrator and comics artist we've been admiring for a long time. Part of the uniformly excellent stylists at Brand New Nostalgia, MacLean has appeared in our Best Art Ever (This Week) feature and earned couple of solo spotlights as well for his great work, which is an uncanny blend of a kind of simple, airy animation style with detailed manga, woodblock art, sci-fi Eurocomics and old fashioned American adventure comics. In storytelling, MacLean's biggest claim to fame has been the self-published Head Lopper -- which is, blissfully, precisely what it sounds like, a swords-and-scorcery type comic that affords MacLean to show off his talent for action and humor. Additionally, his work is featured in Brand New Nostalgia and Out Of Step Arts' kaBOOMbox anthology, a particularly cool-looking collection funded with Kickstarter that will be available at conventions later this year and online soon.

But MacLean's going to make a much bigger splash in the comics scene in 2015, when Dark Horse releases his debut graphic novel ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria For End Times. The 96-page book features story, art, color and lettering by MacLean, who, based on the preview pages provided exclusively to ComicsAlliance, has leveled up in a big way since beginning work on Head Lopper.

Set in a ruined city at the end of the world, ApocalyptiGirl is the story of a woman called Aria (and her cat Jelly Beans) who fights for survival as she tries to find the ancient power that could be her salvation. Dark Horse describes the project as "an action-packed exploration of the extremes of humanity and our desire for a home in a world beyond repair," some of which is definitely reflected in these pages. MacLean's gift for environments is in full effect, transporting you to an overgrown wasteland that you can tell at a glance was once a civilization.

You can see a number of influences or familiar images built into this work: the ancient robot repair recalls Miyazaki's Laputa: Castle in the Sky; the crisp layouts and figures recall Mike Mignola and Guy Davis; and the plucky hero talking to herself (or to Jelly Beans) reminds one a bit of Y: The Last Man; but it's all synthesized in MacLean's own tantalizing way. We're definitely looking forward to this.



ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria For End Times is scheduled to go on sale in March 2015 from Dark Horse.