Image Comics released this week the first teaser image in support of Feel Better Now, the new creator-owned graphic novella by Jonathan Hickman, and his first project as writer and artist since Pax Romana concluded in 2008. The first of three different graphic novellas comprising Hickman's PLUS! project, Feel Better Now is the darkly comic story of rogue psychiatrists who manipulate their patients out of boredom.

Hickman was of course once known primarily for his innovative graphic design-meets-illustration style, exemplified by his comic book debut, The Nightly News, and further developed in the grim time travel epic, Pax Romana. The uncommon excellence of those works, along with Transhuman (featuring artwork by J.M. Ringuet) and Red Mass for Mars (featuring artwork by Ryan Bodenheim) lead Hickman to Marvel Comics, where he is one of the publisher's so-called "architects," writing such ComicsAlliance favorites as Fantastic Four and FF (which our own David Uzumeri diligently annotates, along with routine Q&A with Hickman himself).

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In Feel Better Now, Hickman tells the story of a group of psychiatrists who begin to purposefully play with the lives of their patients, like a game, and the consequences of those depraved actions. It's a boldly bleak kind of funny, reminiscent perhaps of Hickman's Transhuman, a Silicon Valley satire where superpowers and cybernetic enhancements take the place of mobile devices and dot-coms.

In a press release, Hickman said the time was right to return to the drawing board (or whatever it is he uses to create such distinctive imagery), and that Feel Better Now is his most visually interesting work so far.

"It feels like it's time, right? This past year, while I've produced a lot of work, my fingers have certainly been itching to draw again," explained Hickman. "So, here we go! A new book, FEEL BETTER NOW, a new format, and in both execution and design, a new style. I can't wait for people to see it!"

The 40-page Feel Better Now goes on sale in October from Image Comics, and will be followed up with two additional PLUS! graphic novellas to be announced at a later time.