5:00am PT by Graeme McMillan
YA Comic 'Moth & Whisper' to Center on Genderqueer Teen
The future of crime isn’t what it appears to be.
AfterShock’s upcoming new young adult comic book series Moth & Whisper centers around the two most famous thieves in a cyberpunk world of tomorrow — and the secret that unites them: they’re both the same person.
“Moth & Whisper is a cyberpunk thriller set in a near-future dystopian city where the cars are self-driving and the skies are filled with facial-recognition drones,” says writer Ted Anderson. “Corporate employees live in well-defended enclaves that might as well be private fiefdoms. Anonymity is impossible; privacy is a thing of the past. In this nightmare of a city, everybody knows that the two best thieves are the Moth and the Whisper, two infiltrators of unparalleled skill, two ghosts with no faces. But nobody knows that the original Moth and Whisper disappeared six months ago, or that the new Moth and Whisper are one and the same person: the child of the Moth and the Whisper."
The main character is a genderqueer teenager named Niki who must try to live up to the reputation of their parents while trying to discover what happened to them.
The series, Anderson says, is “a story about identity."
"I'm excited for readers to meet Niki; they're a complex character in a tough situation, navigating a hostile world using their wits, their skills, and a variety of high-tech gadgets. When your face is just another commodity to be bought and sold, the most dangerous person is the one wearing a mask," he says.
For Jen Hickman, co-creator and artist on the series, Moth & Whisper “combines a character-driven coming-of-age story with a good heist/spy story."
Another lure of the project for Hickman, whose work has appeared in titles like Jem and the Holograms: Infinite, Femme Magnifique and The Amazing World of Gumball, has been the chance to collaborate with Anderson and the rest of the creative team.
“I love Ted's writing; the two of us have worked together on a couple of other projects, and I find that we click as a creative team really well,” she says. “Marshall Dillon has really taken Moth & Whisper to the next level with his lettering — I feel very lucky to have him on this book. AfterShock has been great as well, Mike Marts is an incredibly supportive editor and has done an amazing job bringing this all together.”
Anderson agrees. “Jen and I have the same taste in video games and cyberpunk media; they've played a huge role in shaping the look of Niki's world. We've been looking for a project to do together for a long time, and I'm so happy I get to work with them on a story that means so much to both of us,” he says. “And our letterer, Marshall Dillon, has done a lot to establish the ‘sound’ of different voices in the book — his work is really distinctive and adds a whole other layer. I'm really proud of the whole team, and I can't wait for people to see what we've put together.”
The first issue of Moth & Whisper will be released Sept. 12 in comic stores and digitally, but there’s no wait for a teaser. Read on for an exclusive preview of Hickman’s artwork from the first issue.