Posted Dec 27, 2010 in Arts | 0 Comments

The Comics Pimp: Antony Johnston’s Wasteland

More than a decade ago, I worked on a series of fantasy books called Providence. During my time as editor, I had the pleasure to work with Antony Johnston on a book called The Kestrels: Becoming Fire. Though Antony had written for a few companies, he had yet to achieve renown. After exchanging a few brainstorming emails, I knew this guy could write. As soon as I had completed reading his first draft, which needed almost no editing, I had no doubt Antony would become the successful writer he is today.

Recently, I rediscovered Antony Johnston’s great talent and imagination after purchasing a copy of his Oni Press series called Wasteland. It tells the story of a scattering of survivors after a great ecological disaster.

The so-called Big Wet has left Earth barren, with the few humans that remain fighting for survival. Racism and religious persecution has torn society into factions. Those who are caught in the middle try and scrounge a living, steering clear of petty conflicts. Wasteland tells the tale of one such man, a scavenger called Michael. He wanders the deserts, a loner, until he meets Abi, a healer with mysterious powers she must keep secret.

Wasteland is filled with great characters and suspense. At the end of each graphic novel, I can’t wait to read the next chapter. Though the world of Wasteland seems quite foreign from our own, it’s also eerily familiar, particularly as the story unfolds; that’s just an indication of Mr. Johnston’s talent.

The artist for the series is Christopher Mitten. At times his lines are sparse, creating a sense of emptiness, just as you would imagine a desert. Other times the opposite is true, particularly with his characters, crafting tension and drama. I could not imagine a more suited choice for artist.

I highly recommend buying this comic. If this review has piqued your interest, have a glance of this great world by visiting the Wasteland website. You can read the first issue for free, and the Walking the Dust travelogue, which gives you an idea what it might be like to live in a Wasteland.

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