5:00am PT by Graeme McMillan
Comic Book Series 'Beyonders' Is a Journey Into the Unknown
The greatest mysteries of the world are about to be uncovered by the least likely of adventurers — including a mountaineer who isn’t quite where he expected to be and a flatulent Corgi. Suffice to say, AfterShock’s new series Beyonders isn’t the average comic book.
The title, which launches in August, comes from writer Paul Jenkins (Wolverine: Origin, The Sentry) and artist Wesley St. Claire (Fu Jitsu, Teen Titans).
“The premise of Beyonders spans centuries,” Jenkins told Heat Vision. “The Great Library of Alexandria, which contained all human knowledge at the time, was intentionally burned down to suppress information."
However, fragments of important knowledge were saved and guarded by rebels known as the Beyonders.
"They left secret messages that reached into the future — a section of all ancient languages that cannot be translated, and appear to be coded," said Jenkins. "And in the present, a young student named Jacob Tate finds a way to decode all of these incredible secrets. It’s the ultimate treasure hunt, using ground-penetrating radar and other technology to uncover hidden tombs and amazing places.”
The appeal of the concept was immediate for the writer. “I’ve had a lifelong love affair with treasure hunts and code-breaking mysteries, and I wanted to create the ultimate interconnected riddle,” he said. “Imagine a story where all of those riddles have one giant tapestry, and lead to one answer — that’s what the audience wants!”
Artist St. Claire sees Beyonders in a similar manner, saying that it has a "balance of intellectual concepts and complex plot points with humorous dialogue and playful characters. If you’re someone who loves conspiracy theories, treasure hunts and Welsh Corgis, you will definitely want to pick this one up.”
The treasure-hunt element of the book won’t be limited to the world of fiction, either. “In the spirit of discovery, we’re going to do our very own treasure hunt in the pages of Beyonders,” Jenkins revealed. “Readers will be able to follow a special code across the issues, piecing the puzzle together with the chance to win some incredible prizes. The story itself contains the treasure hunt. AfterShock will provide further details to retailers and fans as we proceed, but trust me: The prizes at the end are going to be really special and worth the time.”
St. Claire said one of the best things of working with Jenkins and the rest of the creative team on the series was that people could communicate likes and dislikes without a clash of egos.
“It shows a certain level of professionalism when everyone can come to an agreement with ease and criticisms can be delivered without regression," said St. Claire. "Something everyone on this team has in common is that we love what we do, and hopefully that will resonate with the retailers and readers as well.”
Beyonders is Jenkins' third outing with AfterShock, including earlier sci-fi series Replica and Alters.
“At AfterShock, I get the chance to fully express myself and my ideas. Obviously, other publishers are also supportive, but AfterShock is something special — they always say yes to any good idea, and they don’t fret or interfere with anything that may seem different or difficult,” Jenkins said.
Beyonders will launch with a first issue available digitally and in comic book stores Aug. 29. A preview of St. Claire's art from that issue is below.