While science fiction might seem like a natural fit for comics, the genre is actually not as well-represented as you might think. Most superhero comics have more in common with a sort of contemporary fantasy, but can really be considered their own genre. In the small presses, though, you can find some great science fiction if you know where to look. That, of course, is where we come in.
- Fear Agent (Image Comics/Dark Horse Comics): Rick Remender is the creator of this kinetic sci-fi action series, which focuses on the last remaining member of an intergalactic task force known as the Fear Agents. You won’t find deep philosophizing or original speculative ideas here, but for a heady dose of graphic sci-fi with action and horror elements, Fear Agent delivers.
- Magnus, Robot Fighter (Gold Key Comics/Valiant Comics/Acclaim Comics/Dark Horse Comics): One of the longest-running sci-fi franchises in comics, Magnus, Robot Fighter was first created by Russ Manning in 1963. Jim Shooter is currently writing the title for Dark Horse. This title is a superhero story with a sci-fi twist. In the year 4000, humanity is dependent on robots for many applications. Magnus, a man raised by what may be one of the oldest robots, protects humanity from rogue robots and humans alike.
- Wasteland (Oni Comics): Antony Johnston and Christopher Mitten’s post-apocalyptic epic Wasteland tells the story of what the world would be like after a mysterious disaster that destroyed modern society. The disaster is referred to as “The Big Wet” within the comic, but for more information you’ll have to check it out yourself. The Wasteland: The Apocalyptic Edition Volume 1 collects the first 13 issues of the series, also including the serialized “Walking the Dust” prose shorts.
- Lio (Universal Press Syndicate): Mark Tatulli’s Li? strip is a combination of mad scientist hijinks and surreal family-friendly horror, all told primarily with pictures rather than words. Technically, the strip isn’t exactly “small press”it runs in over 330 newspapers worldwidebut newspaper comic strips often go unnoticed by other comics fans. Li? has several collected editions outthe first volume, Happiness is a Squishy Cephalopod, includes strips from the first year and a foreword by Pearls Before Swine creator Stephan Pastis.