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Brandon Graham & Simon Roy’s PROPHET

PROPHET was a comics series by Rob Liefeld in the 1990s, from Image Comics.  I’ve never read it.  It ended at issue 20.

Recently, Rob Liefeld licensed a bunch of his old properties, including PROPHET, back to Image, where Eric Stephenson began matching them to creative teams with carte blanche to reimagine them.

I was, shall we say, skeptical.  And possibly slightly scathing.  Then Eric emailed me and told me exactly who he’d convinced to reinvent these properties.  Which did actually shut me up a bit. 

(these images are screenshot off a PDF advance reading copy, so don’t mistake them for print quality)

Brandon Graham is the writer/artist of acclaimed comics like KING CITY and MULTIPLE WARHEADS.  Simon Roy is the writer/artist of the justly applauded JAN’S ATOMIC HEART.  Both of these are off-kilter, very modern urban science fictions.  In PROPHET, Brandon writes for Simon, and what is produced is something as close to classic French science-fiction comics as I’ve seen in a long time, with a hard edge of contemporary strangeness ground into it.

And it’s very, very good comics.

They recommence the series with issue 21, as if it had simply paused for years.  I’ve never, as I said, read a copy of PROPHET before, and had no idea what the character or the central idea was.  I wasn’t lost.  It sweeps you right in, as if it were the start of a brand new series.  Very densely populated with ideas, very readable, very accessible.  Very clever.  And very beautiful.

John Prophet is a cryogenically-stored agent, periodically disgorged from the bowels of the Earth to be dispatched on a mission.  This time, he’s been underground for a very long time.  Possibly too long.

So begins a journey of deep weirdness – and I’m trying not to spoil it, so I’m not showing you the bit that made me laugh and sort of twitch and retch all at the same time, or even the most wonderful pieces of invention.  I’m hoping this little taste will be enough for you to at least look for it on the week of January 18, 2012, which is when it’s released to comics stores.

What PROPHET by Brandon and Simon is, for me, is the best new science fiction comic since CASANOVA.  It’s more linear than that book, and not as highly compressed, but it is rich, highly inventive, lustrous and a completely entertaining reading experience.  I really hope it finds an audience, because I want more of this book, and I recommend it to you without reservation.

Comics stores can still order more copies of PROPHET #21, using the Diamond order code NOV110358 – if you want to make sure your local store gets a copy for you, quote them that code, as it’ll make it easier for them to do it.  Or, hell, just tell them you want one, if need be.

I hope that when you find it, you enjoy it as much as I did.  Thanks to Eric Stephenson for sending the ARC over.

Published in comics talk