The Last Man On Earth: Should You Be Reading ‘The Autumnlands’?
When you look at the sheer range and number of original stories being told in comics form today, it’s hard to imagine a better time to be a comics reader. Online and in print, from all around the world, artists and writers are telling stories with their own voices and styles, and there’s so much to choose from that it’s sometimes difficult to know what to read next. With Should I Be Reading… ?, ComicsAlliance hopes to offer you a guide to some of the best original ongoing comics being published today.
Kurt Busiek and Benjamin Dewey's Autumnlands is set in a fantasy world that may or may not be the far-off future. Magic is dying, and the humanoid animal members of a highly hierarchical society devise a last-minute plan to bring the savior and progenitor of their world to their present day.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Autumnlands is a tale about expectations and the unchanging nature of humanity --- even when the humanity in question is less human than bestial. When a spell to bring back the savior and creator of all magic goes wrong, a group of animal wizards and unlucky bystanders are left with a broken city and a "hero" as far from their expectations as possible.
Learoyd is a human soldier from another war, one that involved a lot more laser blasts and psy-ops, and a lot fewer bipedal buffalo men. He's bitter, suspicious, and the best chance for most of the city to survive a coming disaster.
WHO'S IT BY?
This is an all-star lineup: art by Benjamin Dewey (Tragedy Series, I Was The Cat), colors by inarguably the best colorist in comics, Jordie Bellaire (Pretty Deadly, Moon Knight, basically everything else), lettered by Comicraft, and written by Kurt Busiek (Astro City, Marvels).
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
Basically just look at the above list of creators. Dewey's art is stunning, and he's designed dozens of unique, expressive animal people, and beautiful architecture. His heavily-detailed art never skimps on the emotional aspects of the story, as his characters are able to get across every emotional beat in Busiek's scripts, a feat that is genuinely flabbergasting considering how many of the characters don't even have eyebrows or human mouths.
This is a world that looks more lived in than actual photographs of real places, while Bellaire's coloring is her usual spectacular work, staying realistic while emphasizing the emotional and thematic elements of the story. Basically, this is a story that is easily one of the best-looking comics on the stands.
Busiek is one of the most consistent writers in comics, constantly finding new angles on seemingly exhausted premises, and creating emotionally resonant characters. Astro City just recently hit its twenty year anniversary, and he and his collaborators have explored fa beyond that book's simple premise of "a city of superheroes."
One could note the similarities between Autumnlands and Kamandi: The Last Boy On Earth, but as with Astro City, Busiek's created something new out of a concept most comic readers are already familiar with, paying homage to the works that inspired him rather than simply making a pastiche.
WHO SHOULD READ IT?
The beautiful art and fantasy setting are reminiscent of Fables, while the emotive animal art and fine-tuned dialogue will be enjoyable to any fan of Blacksad. If you're a fan of any of the creators, this is some of their best work, and should be required reading for anyone who loves great comics.
WHERE CAN I READ IT?